Increasing meat consumption by humans as countries are becoming richer is a major reason for increasing greenhouse gases. A new concept of lab-grown meat emerged in the last few years with startups such as Aleph Farms, Bill Gates-funded Memphis Meats, and JUST to solve the issue.
Also known as cultured meat, lab-grown meat became viral once it was introduced on popular American late-night shows. Developed countries like the US, backed researchers working on growing meat in the lab.
Now, Shiok Meats, based in Singapore, is ready to become the world’s first company to sell lab-grown meat. While other countries are still far from officially selling lab-grown meat, this company is ready to bring the meat on the plate in restaurants.
What is lab-grown meat?
Lab-grown meat or cultured meat is produced through in vitro grown cells under certain conditions. This is a form of cellular agriculture that focuses on the production of agriculture products from cell cultures.
Back in 2013, Mark Post, a professor, showcased the first proof-of-concept for developing lab-grown meat by creating a burger patty directly from animal cells. This led to the push for the creation of meat in a lab than slaughtering an animal.
Shiok Meats ready to sell
Singapore has been investing in local start-ups for developing the product. Shiok Meats is led by Sandhya Sriram and a team of scientists who were trying to develop the product like many other companies.
Other start-ups and research labs around the world that are focusing on developing lab-grown meat are focusing on famous meat such as beef, pork, chicken, and high priced meat such as bluefin tuna and foie grabs.
But, Sriram venture Shiok Meats is the only known be to working on shrimp, a popular meat item found in many Asian dishes. Shrimp developed by the company, was tried to make shumai, the Cantonese dim sum, a popular dish among Chinese.
Shrimps and climate change
In recent years, due to growing demand, fishing boats are catching more shrimps and lobsters than ever before. The growing hunt for shrimp has led to an increase in fishermen spending time to catch them. Emission from vessels used by these fishermen rose by 20 percent in the last two decades.
According to a study, fuels spent on catching shrimps accounts for 22 percent of the CO2 emission from fishing. However, the carbon emissions by shrimps and lobsters are less than that of beef or lamb, the impact is severe.
Price of lab-grown meat
The main focus of producing lab-grown meat has been the cost involved. Over the year, Researchers have driven the price down from $300,000 to a few hundred dollars. However, the present cost is still far from what a common man is able to afford.
Shiok Meats at present brought the price per pound from $2,268 per pound to as low as $1,588. The rate is expected to fall further below by a hundred times in the coming years. If the company succeeds in achieving these feet, it will be a big breakthrough in this field considering the importance of it in climate change.
COVID and investment
Investors are pouring heavily into the industry after the success of plant-based meat companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible. These companies grew awareness and showed a new possibility for a growing climate change problem.
Giants such as Cargill, Bell Food Groups, Tyson, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson are investing heavily and supporting the idea of lab-grown meat to take over in the future.
COVID pandemic has exposed flaws in the traditional meat industry after workers in the US and Europe’s meat process factories contacted the virus that left the industry’s supply chain in crisis.
A huge shortage in supply and a rise in prices and purchasing limits have pushed people to think about the newly emerging lab-grown meat as an alternative option. Impact on climate change by growing production of lab-grown meat can reshape human history for decades to come