The race is on to bring lab grown meat to the masses. In 2013, Dutch scientists created a lab-grown burger costing $330,000 (£251,000) and in May, an American company grew a meatball in the lab for $18,000 (£13,700) per pound.
Now, there’s a new player in town and he has pretty wild ambitions.
Professor Yaakov Nahmias, a biochemical engineer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has developed a new culturing method, called SuperMeat, which promises healthier, humane meat that is better for the environment and could help tackle food shortages.
The real selling point, Nahmias said, is his concept’s ability to localise the production of meat: “We can place our meat-generating machines in local supermarkets, in restaurants and even at your own home.”
The company also claims that SuperMeat will stem food shortages because it requires minimal resources to culture. Lab-grown meat uses 99% less land, emits up to 96% less greenhouse gases and uses up to 96% less water than the meat industry today, according to SuperMeat.
So how does it work?
Scientists take a small tissue sample from a chicken, grow and duplicate the cells in a “special nutrient soup”, which then forms miniscule tissue within a unique environment that mimics an organic habitat. The tissues then grow into actual meat.
It it sounds simple, it’s not. The company has already crowdfunded more than $123,000 (£93,400), but that doesn’t even cover the proof of concept. $1m (£761,000) would fund an efficient production method of small chicken tissues. But the scientists say they need $2.5m (£1.9m) to create a cost-efficient prototype that could produce edible meat.
Someone find these guys an angel investor.