The race is on to get cell-based protein products – meat, seafood and dairy – onto supermarket shelves and into the hands of consumers.
Creating meat, fish or dairy products in a lab using animal cells, with no physical harm coming to those animals, may be seen as the extreme end of food innovation. However, such is the progress in the field we may be seeing cell-based, or cultivated, products on our supermarket shelves within a couple of years, if not sooner.
To get there, the businesses behind these initiatives, will have to speed up production, reduce costs, get regulatory approval and convince retailers and consumers cultivated produce is every bit as tasty and nutritional as that from slaughtered animals.
Inroads are being made in some of these areas. A number of cell-based companies have trialled products in taste tests with consumers or potential foodservice partners. One – the US-based Eat Just – has had a cell-based chicken product approved by regulators in Singapore, the first jurisdiction to give lab-grown meat the green light.