How does a $330,000 lab-grown burger sound? Add to the fact that it doesn’t taste quite like meat yet and most would give that dud offer a big resounding ‘NO’.
Don’t revel in your omnivorous glory too quickly though. Belgium scientists along with researchers in the United States are continuing to forge ahead with the concept of meat substitutes. This also comes with the expectation that it’ll taste like real meat and cost a lot less by the year 2020 when the efficiency of bulk production kicks in.
Some may fret over the idea of an eye-fillet grown in a petri dish but it’s important to realise that the push for this radical idea remains a factor of global population growth against strained supply output. There’s also the debatable issue of the meat industry which has been subject to claims of animal cruelty and contribution to greenhouse gases over the decades.
Add these points together and the United States and its other meat loving cousins such as Australia are poised to see one of the largest shifts in the industry to ever occur. The most obvious issue currently facing these meat scientists includes trying to convince the public that ‘cultured meat’ is okay to munch on.
A 2014 Pew poll indicated that only 20 percent of Americans would be game enough to try cultured meat whilst a 2013 survey in Belgium (before the lab burger was created and tried) revealed that just 13 percent of 180 subjects knew what cultured meat was. Add to this the fact that the vegetarians surveyed perceived man-made meat to be unhealthy and unfavourable and it would appear scientists have gotten into a beef they can’t win (sorry).
There’s still a glimmer of hope though as the Belgian researchers have shown that all it takes is a little caressing and knowledge. Once respondents were told how the meat is grown, most said that they might give it shot. Add to this a robust educational program and potential environmental benefits and respondents warmed up to the idea by two-fold.
Expect sausages the length of your arm and steaks the size of a small child to arrive at a BBQ near you soon.