Most cultured meat is made in a similar way. Cells are taken from an animal, often via a biopsy or from an established animal cell line. These cells are then fed a nutrient broth and placed in a bioreactor, where they multiply until there is enough harvest to make meatballs or nuggets. A number of startups have been created using variations on this approach, believing that cultured meat will appeal to flexitarians – people who want to reduce the amount of meat they eat for ethical or environmental reasons, but don't want to give up completely.
The emerging industry has come a long way since a $ 330,000 burger was cooked on television in 2013, fueled by the idea that if done right, meat could be made with far lower greenhouse gas emissions and animal harmlessness. However, cost is still a hurdle: due to the high price of the growth factors necessary for the cells to develop, the price tags for purely cultured meat products are still measured in hundreds of dollars per pound, which is far too expensive to compete with regular meat . So the first chicken products from Just are chicken bites, in which cultured chicken cells are mixed with vegetable protein – although Tetrick wouldn't say in what proportion. "Chicken nuggets are already mixed – this one won't be any different," says Tetrick. The canapés are labeled as "cultured chicken" on the restaurant menu.
Singapore's decision could trigger the world's first wave of regulatory approvals.
"We hope and expect the US, China and the EU to take on the fight that Singapore has just put down," said Bruce Friedrich, executive director of the Good Food Institute, a non-profit organization that specializes in meat alternatives. "Nothing is more important for the climate than turning away from industrial animal husbandry."
While Just beat them, many big companies are already working with regulators to bring their own products to market. There is no need to rush, says Friedrich. “It is important for sophisticated meat companies to be extra careful and exceed consumer expectations to ensure consumer convenience with their products,” he says.
Memphis Meats, whose numerous investors include Bill Gates, Richard Branson and traditional meat producer Tyson Foods, has partnered with a number of other firms, including just and culture seafood makers BlueNalu and Finless Foods, to lobby with US Regulatory authorities to get their products approved.