There are many reasons why people choose to avoid meat. For some, the environmental impacts of raising animals for mass consumption is a concern, while others are ethically opposed. Many people are now also choosing to drastically reduce their meat intake for health reasons and incorporate a number of plant-based dishes into their diet per week.
Whatever the reason might be, there is definitely a general trend towards reducing the amount of meat consumed and opting for meat-free alternatives. In fact, the meatless meat industry has boomed in recent years and you can find a plethora of fake meat options in the cold section of your supermarket.
For those who are wanting to dabble in this world, there might soon be a new alternative for you to try. A company from the United States called Eat Just has created a product called “chicken bites”, which according to GQ, is created from lab-grown, no-kill meat.
This meat-free chicken recently made history when Singapore’s regulatory food authority approved the product as safe, making cultured meat available for sale for the first time ever. While initial availability will be limited, the chicken bites will soon be available to eat in a restaurant in Singapore.
The making of this meat-free product requires the use of 1,200-litre bioreactors. Chicken cells are grown in the bioreactors before being combined with plant-based nutrients to help them grow. According to The Guardian, the cells used to start the process came from a cell bank and didn’t require the slaughter of chickens as cells are able to be taken from biopsies of live animals.
The growth medium for the meat-free chicken includes foetal bovine serum, which is extracted from foetal blood, but according to The Guardian, this is removed before consumption. And, the final product is nutritionally the same as conventional meat.
While this is undoubtedly positive news for the ethics of eating meat, there are some environmental concerns with this production of cultured meat. The small scale of the current products means that a high use of energy is required and as such, carbon emission. But, the producers are hoping to create fewer emissions and use less water once the business is scaled up.
“I think the approval is one of the most significant milestones in the food industry in the last handful of decades,” said Eat Just co-founder and CEO, Josh Tetrick. “It’s an open door and it’s up to us and other companies to take that opportunity. My hope is this leads to a world in the next handful of years where the majority of meat doesn’t require killing a single animal or tearing down a single tree.”
While there are a number of challenges in bringing cultured meat to consumers, Tetrick acknowledged that the biggest one is arguably the reaction people will have to the product. Tetrick said: “Is it different? For sure Our hope is through transparent communication with consumers, what this is and how it compares to conventional meat, we’re able to win. But it’s not a guarantee”.
As the world continues to shift its eating habits, it is fair to speculate that products like the no-kill chicken created by Eat Just will become more popular and easily accessible. Should you be given the option to try it, would you eat no-kill, lab-made chicken?