Clean Meat is grown from in-vitro animal cell culture in the lab, instead of slaughtered animals. It uses the same tissue engineering techniques employed by regenerative medicine. The concept of cultured meat was popularized by Jason Matheny after co-authoring a paper on cultured meat production. He also created New Harvest, the world’s first non-profit organization dedicated to supporting in vitro meat research. Since then, there are dozens of innovative laboratories all around the globe that are working on creating affordable clean meat. In 2013, Dr. Marcus “Mark” Johannes Post of Maastricht University created the first lab-grown meat burger. It is considered a more humane and fiscally responsible approach to meat consumption.
Predictably, meat producers have pushed back on the idea of having it marketed as ‘meat’ since they believe it misleads the customers regarding the product. In July 2018, Consumer Reports conducted a phone survey and found that the vast majority of Americans think that the meat produced in the lab should be called a different name, and their votes indicated their preference as below:
- 35% Lab-grown Meat
- 34% Artificial & Synthetic Meat
- 11% Cultured Meat
- 9% Clean Meat
- 8% In-vitro Meat
- 3% Other names
Why do we need Clean Meat?
With the rising environmental and monetary cost of beef production, the idea of an alternative has taken hold of the public imagination. The cost of beef production in the United States has risen by 200%. Furthermore, a study published in PNAS predicted that removing all U.S. agricultural animals would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2.6%. Therefore, the future of consumption of meat is in clean meat.
Clean Meat Startups
These five startups below represent only a small fraction of all the startups that are working in this space to bring a viable product to the commercial market for everyday consumption.