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'Cultivated Meat' Faces Uphill Fight For Market Toehold

The US firm Upside Foods may be near to securing approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell its cultivated meat but this is but the first step to win over a market that prefers red meat and not the meat cultured in laboratories that cannot replicate the taste, texture, and nutrients of beef.

Photo Insert: Among 6,000 adults across England, Wales and Northern Ireland surveyed earlier this year, 59 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t try cultivated meat, with just 28 percent willing to give it a go.

Writing for the New Scientist on Nov. 25, 2022, Madeleine Cuff said the meat and dairy industries are major drivers of climate change, with livestock accounting for a maximum of 14.5 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said.

In 2019, a team of researchers from the Eat-Lancet commission drew up a “planetary health diet,” which recommended limiting the consumption of meat to just a few times a week, with extra fruit, vegetables, and legumes filling the gap.

If everyone followed this regime, the world could feed 10 billion people a healthy diet while meeting global climate goals, said the researchers.

GOOD Meat, a subsidiary of Eat Just, is one of those companies betting that cultivated meat will be the future of mealtimes.

In layman’s terms, its chicken is made by feeding stem cells extracted from an egg with a mix of amino acids, fats, and carbohydrates to kick-start growth and duplication. In the final product, the resulting chicken “meat” is mixed with other ingredients, such as soy and plant proteins, until it resembles the texture of traditional chicken.

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Cultivated meat is relatively costly. Giant custom-built bioreactors are needed, as well as plenty of nutrient-rich growth mediums to keep cells multiplying. Strict infection control measures will be essential, to prevent valuable vats of cultivated meat from spoiling from rogue bacteria or virus particles.

Firms, therefore, need to find investors with deep pockets and a lot of patience to finance their vision. Moreover, cultivated meat lacks Heme, the blood protein that gives meat its taste. The process itself has been described as a form of biotechnology that interferes with meat at the genetic level.

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Producing food via non-natural means is biotechnology, critics claim. Consumers are not taking t5o cultivated meat as ducks do to water.

In an Ipsos survey of almost 6,000 adults across England, Wales and Northern Ireland earlier this year, 59 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t try cultivated meat, with just 28 percent willing to give it a go. This is despite 86 percent of people reporting they had cut back on red meat consumption.

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