The food of the future is here.
Whether you choose to eat meat, or if you simply don’t like it, there is no denying that meat has a massive impact on society. There have been several concerns with the sustainability and ethics of intensive farming which was manufactured to keep up with our engorged demand of meat.
Technology and scientists may have found a way for you to carry on eating your juicy burgers sustainably guilt-free!
It may sound far-fetched but Dr Mark Post, was the first to culture a beef patty in a lab. Mark Post’s approach produces the bacon and burgers we love, minus the oink and moo. The process is a relatively simple 4 step method:
Professor Post spent a considerable amount of time, attempting to turn animal stem cells into meat. Post’s research, somewhat sponsored by Sergey Brin, one of the co-founders of Google, allows him to use his specific technique to theoretically recreate the flesh of rare species such as pandas or tigers. Although, Post will be fine tuning the beef patty before he moves on to more exotic animals.
The taste testing of the $300,000 burger was a success back in 2013, however some remarks were made about the burger lacking a little flavour. From a technological/scientific point of view, this petri dish patty is an absolute breakthrough and many other scientists are now trying to even grow chicken and fish.
At the time of the 2013 reveal, there was an aura of excitement from Post when he said: “Sometimes when technology comes along, it has the capability to transform how we view our world, some people think this is science fiction - it's not real, it's somewhere out there. I actually think that's a good thing.'
“Fifty Years Hence”, is an essay written in 1932, in which Winston Churchill gave his view on how the world could look in 1982. Churchill suggested: "We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium." Although it has taken a few more than 50 years, Churchill was absolutely on the ball.
Although it may sound unappealing, the benefits of in-vitro meat far out way the conventional product. Meat production is part of the main contributors to global environmental degradation, particularly deforestation, fresh water shortage, global warming and loss of biodiversity. Intensive farming is also a contributor to heart disease, obesity and diabetes statistics. Currently, one-third of the global land area is used up by meat production, and one-fifth of global greenhouse emissions stem from meat production. The introduction of in-vitro meat means that instead of making space for billions of animals and arming space, the meat will be grown in industrial size labs, mass producing meat, therefore the energy usage will be lower, as will greenhouse gas emissions and land use.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the health benefits of lab grown meat is that in theory its healthier than conventional meat. The quality and most importantly, the quantity of fat can be controlled, so it is in fact possible to produce cultured meat with either reduced or completely healthy fats.
So by 2020 lab grown meat might be on our shelves, even for an affordable price. So if the idea of lab grown meat seems daunting, now might be the time to invest. There is a long way to go but it is a bright future ahead. My outlook is, I look forward to the day when I can order a cultured sausage roll without worrying about the ethics of where the meat has come from. I can’t wait!