The group of Dutch researchers that brought the world its first lab-grown hamburger (at a bargain price of $330,000) is hoping to bring its faux-beef goodness to the masses by 2020. When the team produced that first burger from scratch two years ago, it got mixed reviews on its taste but inspired plenty of excitement for its potential green benefits. Now, as the BBC reports, that same team is hard at work trying to commercialize that proto-meat:
“I am confident that we will have it on the market in five years,” he [Prof Mark Post] said. He explained it would be available as an exclusive product to order to begin with but would be on supermarket shelves once a demand had been established and the price comes down. […]
Prof Post and his team have made progress in the past two years – but to develop a commercial product in five years he decided he had to ramp up the research….Mosa Meat will employ up to 25 scientists, lab technicians and managers. One of the key objectives will be to find ways of mass producing the meat.
The researchers will also investigate ways of making chops and steaks using 3-D printing technologies – but that is likely to take longer to commercialise.
Many environmentalists take umbrage with humanity’s carnivorous habits not only for the sake of the animals that we’re eating, but also for the extraordinary amount of resources that go in to raising and feeding livestock, not to mention the climate dangers of cows’ methane emissions.
All of those concerns could be taken care of in one fell swoop with these shamburgers. And in fact, if this technology can be scaled up, it’s estimated that factory-grown meat could use up 99 percent less land, 45 percent less energy, and emit between 78 and 96 percent fewer greenhouse gases. If that’s not news to stoke green optimism, we don’t know what is.
The world’s population is growing and our planet’s climate is changing, and the question of how we’ll feed future generations is a serious one. But while green Malthusians have gone to great lengths spelling out just how doomed we all are, they’ve given much less thought and attention to the positive technological advances that are currently being developed. So bring on the lab-grown meat, we say! We only ask that while these researchers are finding ways efficiently to commercialize their product, they also work on making it taste better.