Cultured meat producer “Just”, believes it will have the first commercially viable lab-grown or “clean” meat ready for public consumption by year’s end. We have been hearing a lot about the topic for some time now and “Just” looks to be the first company to overcome the cost, taste and sentiment issues that have kept it off the market. Remember the first lab-grown burger had a production cost of over $300,000 a few years back. Now, with advancements in technology and procedures, that cost has been slashed to a reasonable level. From what I understand, the initial offering will be a type of foie gras or chorizo or type of mushy composition. Meaning, we are years away from understanding how to incorporate the muscle and fat cells as well as the connective tissues in order to produce an actual “steak” in the lab. Interestingly, one of the final hurdles to overcome and by all accounts the most significant one before “Just” can sell its first burger is to find a substitute for the blood serum it uses to begin creating the new strain. The serum happens to be the source of protein the strain needs to develop and it is very expensive, not to mention it comes from the blood of a tiny cow, which doesn’t fit the social image the company is seeking to maintain. Keep in mind the company believes that having overcome the hurdles of cost, taste and its social agenda, they are now poised to grab market share from traditional meat producers. There might be another hurdle for “Just” and companies in the space as the United States Cattlemen’s Association recently filed a 15-page petition to the USDA asking for them to strictly define “meat” and “beef” as animals raised and slaughtered. The group believes labeling cultured products as meat will only confuse consumers. In the petition, the USCA mentions Memphis Meats, Just, and Mosa Meats, — three startups that are racing to bring lab-grown meat to market. Keep in mind that Tyson is invested in Memphis meats along with Bill Gates and Richard Branson. There is a lot of big money and consumer sentiment behind cultured meat, but from what I understand, lab-grown meat will one day, perhaps sooner than later, be economically sustainable and on the shelves at your local market. (Source: Wired, BusinessInsider)
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