What is cultured meat?
Meat is an essential nutrient in the human diet. It contains essential amino acids, vitamins, and heme iron, which provides oxygen to tissues and organs and is not found in other products.
April 26, 2021
The consumption of meat in the world is enormous. 7x increase from 70 million tons in 1960 to 350 million tons in 2018. And it will increase more with the growth of the planet's population. At the same time, the process of obtaining meat from cattle, poultry, pigs, and sheep is not effective. To get 1 kg of meat, you need 38 kg of feed and about 7 cubic meters of water. Also, animals make up 15% of the total emissions of greenhouse gas emissions. Soon, humanity will face a shortage of resources to produce sufficient meat.
There is also a moral and ethical issue. Animals are killed for meat. And before they go to the slaughterhouse, they grow in cramped pens or cages and suffer. This is causing resentment among animal welfare organizations and forcing many people to stop eating meat. Some people also reject meat because of religious and economic reasons.
When looking for better ways to grow meat, two directions have appeared: the creation of meat analogs from plant ingredients and the so-called “cultivated meat” grown from animal cells.
Vegetable meat is made from legumes, cereals, vegetable fats, and dyes. It is a fully vegan meat-flavored product. The ingredients are crushed, mixed, and processed using special technology to get the meat structure. The food additives and spices give a meat flavor. Such meat is missing the animal proteins, vitamins, and amino acids that ordinary meat has.
Cultivated meat is full-fledged meat. The manufacturing process is more complicated. But it allows you to get pork, beef, poultry, almost identical to natural.
How is cultured meat made?
Stem cells capable of actively dividing are taken from the animal's body. This procedure is painless and does not cause any inconvenience to the animals. Next, the cells are placed in a nutrient medium with the required amount of sugars, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. And to speed up the division process, they are placed in a bioreactor, where, at the required temperature, humidity, and other conditions, cell colonies grow in 2-8 weeks. These cells do not form muscle fibers, so the resulting product is minced meat, ready to be formed into a finished product - a burger patty or sausage, etc.
To prevent the meat from becoming too unleavened, it is possible to regulate its fat content by adding the required amount of fat cells grown in the same way. The result is meat without excess cholesterol, without antibiotics, which are used for raising animals and poultry, without the risk of bacterial and parasitic infection. And for the whole process, 100 times less land is required, 5 times less water, and no vegetable feed and compound feed is required.
It also solves the ethical problem because animals do not suffer, and they do not need to be killed. So those who refuse meat, sparing animals, will be able to change their diet.
Cultured meat has already appeared on the market, and its popularity is growing. It is still more expensive than regular meat, but the price is falling rapidly and may soon reach parity or even fall below. This new technology gives a chance to solve the problems of lack of food and resources because of the rapidly increased population.
The prospects for earning money from the sale of cultivated meat are very high. Therefore, the cultivated meat industry is attracting more and more investment. And highly qualified biologists and bioengineers are actively working to improve the nutrient medium, optimize bioprocesses, and select stem cells.
As with any business, the one who first notices and invests in new technology is the one who will get the most profits as a result.