Lab-grown, or cultivated, meat is moving closer to being widely available in the U.S. But are consumers ready to get over their skepticism and squeamishness?
Economic futurist Andrew Busch says ready or not, here it comes.
U.S. regulators have already signed off on one lab-grown chicken product, paving the way for California manufacturer UPSIDE Foods to scale up. Its first products could be in restaurants later this year, with cultivated chicken eventually coming to retail stores.
“Just remember, five years ago we were talking about ChatGPT, and everybody thought it’ll be years, decades before that happens,” Busch said of the Artificial Intelligence-driven communication technology. “This is coming, and it’s going to be faster than you think.”
Cultivated meat comes from livestock cells that are grown in bioreactors. They ultimately form products that resemble and taste like meat.
Busch says two factors will drive the success – or failure – of the lab-grown protein products. One is whether consumers will be accepting of them.
Another is whether manufacturers can produce it at a price point that will make it competitive with conventional livestock meat.
Lab-grown meat is different from the plant-based meat substitutes that have enjoyed some success in the marketplace. Cultivated meat won’t pass muster with vegetarians because it is still a meat product, Busch says.
“They’re very different products with similar desires to replace the way that we produce meat today,” he told the Noon Business Hour on Thursday.
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