The new age of cruelty-free, environmentally beef is here; and it’s not made of mushrooms or soybeans. Scientists are now able to create lab grown beef from a single cell.
As Netflix saw a wave of ethical farming documentaries sweep the trending lists recently, interest in meat alternatives soared. We’ve tried the soy or mushroom based alternatives, and while they serve a purpose, they haven’t quite reached mass adoption.
The livestock industry is far from perfect. Ethical, environmental and health concerns surround the practices of delivering meats to our plates. The answer may lie in a petri dish.
In 2020, US$1.2b poured into the “cell-cultured food space”, a figure that was on track to be beaten in 2021 when Crunchbase last released data at the end of Q3 last year. In Q4, Israeli company Future Meat completed a US$350m funding round. Instead of beef, the firm focuses on chicken.
Of course, the process isn’t so simple but it almost sounds too good to be true. The finished product is the same while there are no emissions or loss of life say the pitch decks of lab-meat startups. The downsides? To start they’re really expensive. Mosa Meat patties cost over US$100 each still. That cost will come down over time.
A more advanced concern is that caretakers of our food supply from everyday farmers to exclusive and expensive VC-backed labs. A more competitive meat space filled with mum and dad farmers (as well as huge multinational producers) will be replaced by far fewer high tech labs. How essential is a diverse supply chain?
While it may seem like all innovation these days is concentrated in social media apps or tech businesses built around ad revenue, there is so much inspiring work going on to create a more sustainable future.
It’s much more than EVs and solar power working towards a cleaner society. Lowercarbon Capital is a fund focused on such solutions. Flick through their portfolio to see the companies inventing kelp-farming robots or carbon-free cement.