Cultured Meat

March 19, 2024

Meat alternatives mark the start of a change in human thought made possible by biotechnology

The advent of "alternative meats" has been one of the most fascinating trends to emerge in recent years. Your option of alternative meats falls into one of two basic categories: plant-based meat or lab-grown meat as more people opt to omit animal meat from their diets for health, ethical, or environmental reasons.

We might only grow the animal parts we consume rather of raising the full animal. When all we want is the completed steak, why invest the energy in raising the intricate, sentient organisms we name cattle, complete with bones, horns, and essential organs? These hassles are removed when meat is raised inside bioreactors, as is the difficult process of developing a body and maintaining consciousness.

Currently, plant-based meats are beginning to take on a bigger role on restaurant menus, especially as chefs try to come up with meals that will appeal to the growing number of flexitarian customers. Lab-grown meats may have a place on dinner tables as they become more inexpensive. Traditional meats and plant-based meats, though, are now the only two options you'll find filling burgers, recipes, and diners' stomachs.

Meat made from plants that tastes like meat

There are various techniques to accomplish this, but the most well-liked method is referred to as "high-moisture extrusion." An end product that is essentially plant proteins with a meat-like texture is created by placing plant proteins within a barrel and subjecting them to thermal and mechanical pressures. This process involves using a range of heating, cooling, and shearing procedures. The qualities of the finished product can also be customized appropriately by slightly changing the method.

Meat produced in a lab with minimal environmental impact

Lab-grown meat, also referred to as "cultured meat," is produced in a new way. Animal muscle samples and stem cells are used in lab-grown meat, which subsequently cultivates (or "grows") this little sample into a substantial volume of meat. In essence, lab-grown meat gives consumers the option to eat real meat without feeling bad about killing an animal for their dinner or worrying that they are harming the environment.

What Is Lab-Grown Meat?

Cultured meat, also referred to as lab-grown meat, is similar to meat obtained from animals reared on factory farms in that it is composed of actual animal cells. The difference is that while meat cells obtained directly from animal bodies are grown in a manner that has significant detrimental effects on the environment and animal welfare, lab-grown meat cells mature and grow in a manner that has significantly less adverse effects on animal welfare and the environment.

History of Lab-Grown Meat

Hanni Ruetzler and Josh Schonwald, two food critics, ate the first lab-grown beef burger prepared by chef Richard McGeown in London in 2013. Two years and $325,000 in research, development, and innovation went into the creation of the burger. Since that first sandwich was tasted, startups and established food businesses have been working diligently to cut manufacturing time and costs while increasing the accessibility of lab-grown burgers and other meats for the average customer. Because of the research being done on lab-grown beef, a lab-grown burger may now be purchased for as cheap as $9.80.

Is Lab-Grown Meat Available Yet?

Singapore was the first nation to approve the sale of lab-grown meat when they did so in September 2020, and lab-grown chicken is already on the market there. Companies in the United States and Israel are both ready to start rolling lab-grown meat onto grocery store shelves as soon as they get approval from their respective governing bodies.

Is Lab-Grown Meat Vegan?

Whether this laboratory-produced beef would be regarded as vegan depends on why a person has chosen to adhere to the diet and way of life. On the one hand, laboratory-produced meat is produced using animal cells that come from living creatures. An anti-eating of other living things vegan would probably not consider lab-grown beef to be vegan. On the other side, lab-grown meat can be produced without an animal's death, only the collection of its cells. Since lab-grown meat does not necessitate the murder of an animal, it may be acceptable to a vegan who is explicitly opposed to the suffering of animals and their slaughter for human consumption.

Do Animals Die To Make Lab-Grown Meat?

Meat produced in laboratories does not require the death of animals. Instead, real animals' cells are removed and then produced in a lab. However, some lab-grown meats that are labelled halal or kosher may have come from animals that were killed in accordance with those regulations.

What Is Lab-Grown Meat Made Out Of?

Since lab-grown meat is produced using animal cells, it is almost identical to meat derived from an animal raised on a factory farm, with the exception that the animal did not have to die in order for us to consume it. People who have tried lab-grown meat frequently comment on how similar it is to meat from farms.

How Is Lab-Grown Meat Made?

Cells from a living animal are often extracted to create lab-grown meat. The animal is only momentarily uncomfortable throughout this operation. Then, the cells are put into a mixture of various nutrients, where they multiply and produce the sinews of actual meat. The personnel at the production plant can then use this tissue to create a range of various meat cuts.

Selection of Starter Cells

The cells that are employed to create lab-grown meat are referred to as stem cells; these cells have the capacity to self-renew and develop into specialized cell types. The chosen stem cells depend on the final product. For instance, the production of foie gras would require liver cells.

Treatment of Growth Medium

Fetal bovine serum, which is collected from pregnant cows after slaughter and used as a growth medium for lab-grown meat, has been a staple for many years. However, Mosa Meat reported earlier this year that they had taken this ingredient out of their manufacturing process.


The structure that the laboratory-grown cells grow onto and around in order to generate the "cuts" of meat that we are accustomed to is called the scaffold. Natural, synthetic, or composite scaffolds are all acceptable. Gelatin, alginate from algae, cellulose, silk, and silk are examples of natural scaffolding. Polyethylene glycol serves as a synthetic scaffold in some cases.

Why Is Meat Grown in a Lab Bad?

Many consumers, vegan and non-vegan alike, could be wary about lab-grown meat. After all, it is meat that is made using animal cells that are subsequently cultured in a production facility, a technology that is naturally frightening, incredibly new, and possibly even unsettling. However, the truth is that meat produced in laboratories has the same nutritional value as meat from factory farms, with less of an adverse effect on the environment and animal welfare.

Why Is Meat From Labs Good?

Meat produced in laboratories has the potential to drastically lessen the agricultural industry's environmental effect. This is due to the fact that growing meat requires less of the time and resources needed to raise and kill animals. Land wouldn't have to be cleared for food production in a supply chain for cultivated meat, and animals wouldn't be emitted tonnes of methane. Although the production of cultured meat would have its own energy needs and still result in greenhouse gas emissions, it would be easier to power using renewable energy than the production of traditional meat. Millions of animal lives could be saved by using lab-grown meat because it does not require animal deaths for meat manufacturing, which is another outstanding advantage of the new product.

Is Lab-Grown Meat Healthy?

Even though the phrase "artificial" is usually used when talking about lab-made meat, the cells that are generated are actually the same ones that animals create. The only true distinction between lab-grown meat and meat products sourced from animals is that factory-farmed meat is produced in a facility more akin to a brewery. Well, that plus the fact that lab-grown beef is better for the environment.

Could Meat Grown in a Lab Save the World?

More effort will be needed to save the environment than merely switching to lab-grown beef in place of steak made from animals. However, moving away from factory farms and toward lab-grown meat has the potential to have a significant positive impact on the environment by lessening some of the significant negative effects of animal agriculture.

Considering the Ethics

There are moral issues with lab-grown meat. You may help ensure that any lab-grown meat you try adheres to the greatest ethical standards by doing some research on the companies that are employing plant-based scaffoldings and have discontinued using foetal bovine serum. Be aware that some manufacturing scaffolds, like gelatin, continue to come from animals, and that some businesses continue to use foetal bovine serum, which is extracted from a pregnant cow during slaughter, as a growth serum.


The various goods will be governed as they go on sale by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The National Institute for Cellular Agriculture, which the USDA founded and funds in collaboration with Tufts University, is evidence of their interest in laboratory-grown meat.

Religion-Related Matters

Whether lab-grown beef would be regarded as halal or kosher is one aspect that merits consideration. This issue has generated a lot of discussion, with one proposed answer being that using the stem cells from an animal sacrificed in accordance with a certain religion would also make the meat produced in laboratories. Although this method necessitates the loss of the original animal, it also protects thousands of other animals from suffering the same fate.


The difficulty facing enterprises engaged in cell-based agriculture is achieving price parity with rivals who raise animals in factory farms. The cost of a burger is currently projected to be just around $10 and is steadily declining as businesses continue to innovate since the first burger was made in 2013 for more than $350,000.

Acceptance by consumers

A consumer poll from 2017 found that 65,3 percent of respondents would be open to trying lab-grown beef. Of those, 32.6 % said they would consume it frequently, and 47. % said they would choose it over soy-based meat substitutes.

Does Meat Grown in a Lab Have Enough Nutrients?

There is still much to learn about the nutritional value of lab-grown meat, particularly when compared to meat from animals. The same health risks associated with consuming an excessive amount of lab-grown meat as those associated with consuming an excessive amount of meat obtained from animals are present.

Is Meat Grown in a Lab Safe?

Although it is still a novel product in the research and development stage, lab-grown meat is probably safe to eat as long as it is consumed sensibly and not excessively, as is frequently the case with meat from animals. This is because lab-grown items are essentially the same thing and may have similar negative effects on health. The fact that lab-grown meat is produced in a controlled setting where disease transmission is substantially lower than on factory farms is one way that it is significantly safer than meat options sourced from animals.

Can Traditional Meat Be Replaced by Lab-Grown Meat?

Lab-grown meat is projected to gain market share as it continues to approach price parity with meats obtained from animals. This is particularly true given the rising demand for products that are sustainable, ecologically friendly, and socially responsible. There is no contest on this front, as lab-grown meat is significantly more environmentally friendly than conventional animal products.

Active Companies

The lab-grown meat industry is home to a number of businesses. Among the well-known ones are: Because animals (pet food) ; BioBQ (Brisket for BBQ) ; BlueNalu (seafood) ; Good Meat (chicken) ; Mission Barns (bacon, meatballs, and other fatty foods)

Research Obstacles

Fetal bovine serum and the time and expense required to create cell lines are the main obstacles facing lab-grown meat. Numerous businesses have reported that they have discovered growth serums that are not foetal bovine serum, negating the necessity to slaughter pregnant cows in order to manufacture lab-grown meat. A distinct kind of difficulty arises from the fact that many entrepreneurs cannot obtain cell lines, which restricts the discoveries and advancements they may make. Fortunately, the future seems promising and will probably bring easier access to a large range of cell lines.

How Will Meat From Lab Animals Be Regulated?

According to a 2019 agreement, the USDA and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will share responsibility for regulating lab-grown beef in the US. The USDA will be in charge of regulating the stages that turn cells into tissue and its labelling for retail sales, while the FDA will be in charge of regulating the processes that change cells into tissue, the management of cell banks, and the harvesting of stem cells.

Innovations & IP in Future food industry – An opportunity analysis (1/4)

As technology and customer demand advance, the future of food is already a lucrative industry and will only continue to grow. The way we produce and consume food is evolving as a result of advances in cellular agriculture, plant-based meat analogues (PBMAs), cultured meat, and agricultural technology (AgTech). By 2030, the market for cultured meat alone is anticipated to be worth more than $12 billion.

Companies must acquire a specialized market for their goods or services in order to benefit from this growing trend. They also need to show their potential to potential licensees, investors, or customers. No matter the size of the firm, having the appropriate intellectual property in place is essential. We need to examine the sorts of intellectual property (IP) that could be used to advance future food technology in such a crowded industry.


Components of novel foods, whether for humans or animals, can be protected by "product" or "composition of matter" claims. These could be organisms with enhanced growth, yield, efficiency, lifespan, or dependability, such as cells, bacteria, fungus, insects, or plants. In other situations, they may be utilised as "factories" to create food items and parts with higher qualities, which could then be protected separately, rather than being consumed themselves.

Food product production processes can be protected using patents. There is a push to create food products in particular with appealing qualities for consumers. Utilizing in vitro cell culture, it is possible to produce cells and tissue that more closely resemble traditional meat and fish-based products by improving their texture, flavour, appearance, aroma, and nutritional content. Additionally, patents may cover the methods used to transform these cultivated cells into final foods.

Innovations & IP in Future food industry – An opportunity analysis (2/4)

Additionally, there are chances to safeguard novel culture mediums and scaffolds, enhanced culture settings, procedures for adding outside minerals and vitamins, and procedures for processing any produced compounds. These technologies might have numerous uses that go beyond the items that are now in mind, making it possible to make extensive use of important patents.

Patents can be used to protect various fermentation techniques, including molecular farming, precision fermentation, and large-scale food component manufacture. It is also possible to safeguard brand-new bioreactors and other equipment needed for fermentation procedures.

Future food innovations are not just confined to lab-grown cells or microbes. To fulfil the problems of feeding the world, improved crops will also be crucial. Crop plants can be modified to have desired traits, and such techniques can be protected by patents. Plant variety rights can be used to safeguard plants produced using standard breeding techniques.

Within "smart agriculture," there are potential to patent technology. For instance, more advanced robotics and sensors will increase the efficiency of farming; machine learning systems can be used to evaluate the level of ripening or visual quality of a crop; and cutting-edge lighting systems will enable indoor food production.

All of this future food also needs to be delivered and packed. Patents can be used to protect novel and improved packaging materials and techniques, such as those that minimise the use of plastic, extend shelf life, and increase recycling.

Innovations & IP in Future food industry – An opportunity analysis (3/4)

Design rights

The lines, contours, colors, shapes, textures, materials, or ornamentation of a product may give rise to design rights that protect the aesthetic design of the entire or a portion of it. Design rights may be helpful to protect the specific shape or look of such packaging while patents may be helpful to protect technical features of packaging materials or production methods. Design rights can be used to carve out a niche and keep rival companies with comparable items from intruding on it because packaging is a crucial part of "shelf appeal.“

The shape of equipment used in food technologies, such as in cell culture or fermentation processes, as well as that of the subcomponents and consumables utilized inside the equipment, could also be protected by design rights. Even food shapes may be protected by design rights if they are unusual. For instance, the shape and contouring of processed meals like nuggets and snack chips may make them easily recognizable, therefore obtaining a design right protecting these features could prevent rivals from releasing a knockoff product.

Trade marks

Trade marks can be extremely helpful in increasing consumer familiarity and loyalty because they protect the "brand"—names, logos, and trade dress—that surrounds a product. Branding may be the secret to getting consumers to adopt novel meals and associate them with desirable qualities like health, sustainability, and chic lifestyle choices, particularly in a rising market where such items are appearing. Making sure marks are distinctive and not just a description of their components or manufacturing methods will be a difficulty for trade mark registration in this industry. On the other hand, there are several benefits to developing a brand holistically since strong trade marks offer ongoing product protection, unlike other IP rights that have expiration dates.

Innovations & IP in Future food industry – An opportunity analysis (4/4)

Trade secrets

Sometimes a firm acquires knowledge or information that can be challenging to enforce or safeguard using the methods described above. Nevertheless, this intellectual property may still be valuable to the business and, if kept a secret, may be used against other parties if violated.

Such information can come in many different forms, such as formulas and recipes, customer or sales information, business plans and marketing strategies, technological advancements, unreleased inventions, software source code, and algorithms, process know-how, product information, such as formulas and manufacturing methods.

Evidently, businesses involved in the future food industry could use some of the aforementioned forms. If disclosed, proprietary cell culture techniques and media recipes could be replicated by rivals, albeit it might be difficult to establish that this has happened. If this information was preserved as internal business know-how, it might be more useful.

A strong internal system is required to define the protected information and maintain its secrecy for trade secrets to be effective. However, they can offer major competitive advantages when used appropriately.

It is clear that businesses creating the food of the future have a plethora of IP options at their disposal. Every invention, from single molecules and cells to fermentation and farming machinery, is eligible for protection.

We have a wealth of knowledge in all facets of future food technology & related intellectual property issues. Our team has experience & expertise to help your business benefit from a comprehensive IP strategy that includes patents, trademarks, brand identification, marketing and trade secrets. Being a part of a quickly evolving industry, you and your team need to build overlapping layers of protection around your ideas.

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