Regular readers know that Via Meadia (along with Winston Churchill), is a strong proponent of the future economic and energy benefits of faux meat. We are happy to report that the first “shamburgers” should be coming off the grill in October—albeit for the paltry sum of $348,000 each and with a 10–20 year timetable for mass production. But don’t let these figures ruin your appetite; researchers expect to be able to scale up the process and dramatically reduce costs.The Financial Times (subscription required) explains how such meat will satisfy consumer demand and be a boon for the environment:
Live cattle and pigs are only 15 per cent efficient at converting vegetable proteins to meat from the grass and cereals they eat. . . .Patrick Brown, biochemistry professor at Stanford University in California, told the AAAS that global meat consumption was expected to double by 2050, yet livestock farming already accounted for 18 per cent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions and threatened biodiversity worldwide.
We’re not the only ones betting that the dinner of the future could come from test tubes. As the FT notes, a private investor is financing the project to the tune of €250,000. And if meat and other food prices spike in the near term, as many expect, the project may garner wider support.Lab-grown meat seems like a win-win project for greens, too. The benefits to the environment are enormous, if and when it becomes affordable and palatable. That may be years down the road, if ever, but we’re optimistic nonetheless.