Lab-grown alternatives to meat (aka cultured meat) that look and taste like the real thing have become mainstream in recent years, with people increasingly turning to these substitutes to green up their diets. A new startup in Israel wants to make cultured meat even more popular among consumers by opening the world’s first industrial production facility for lab-grown meat.
Like many companies in the industry, Future Meat Technologies uses real cells harvested from live animals to create its product. The process involves carefully nurturing the cells in a bioreactor and feeding them the same nutrients as the living animals. This enables the cells to grow and multiply until they develop into edible portions of meat.
According to the company, its proprietary process, called “media rejuvenation,” removes waste products more efficiently, and can lead to yields ten times higher than the industry standard. It says that its technique also generates 80 percent less greenhouse gas emissions and uses 96 percent less freshwater than traditional meat production.
The new factory, located in the Israeli city of Rehovot, will have the capacity to produce 500 kg (1,100 lb) of cultured chicken, pork, and lamb each day, which is equivalent to around 5,000 burgers, and the company says beef products are also on the way.
Future Meat Technologies claims that the production costs for a piece of chicken breast are around $3.90 and, as it continues to scale up its technology, it expects that number to drop even lower.
We know that lab-grown meat isn’t for everyone, but in addition to regenerative farming and plant-based diets, cultured meat also deserves a seat at the table in terms of food solutions which cut down on resource use and emissions.