It’s a headline right out of a near-furture dystopian sci-fi novel:
Using the word “vats” makes it sound distinctly unappetizing. Like they are trying to make it sound bad, to make it dystopian. But, as a non-religious vegetarian I see this as a good thing.
I don’t miss meat, I don’t crave it but there are things that you can’t make without meat that it would be nice to eat again, fake meat only goes so far. If we can make meat without the cruelty, without the environmental damage and all the other objectionable things that factory farming methods of raising livestock for food cause… then I’m all for it. My Hindu friends may disagree but I don’t think there would be any issue for me to eat this, being vegetarian for ethical and not religious reasons.
The company building the vats, Good Meat [goodmeat.co], has been selling it’s cultured chicken in Singapore since 2020. I have not tried it, as it has only been available at one restaurant. But I will try it when I can. The article also notes Good is building a new, bigger, reactor in Singapore to expand.
The quality of plant based meats has gotten so good in the past few years, with Beyond and Impossible that it will be interesting to see if cultured meat has a niche. Veggies or people looking for limit their “real meat” intake can use these plant based meats for burgers, sauces and much more, but you can’t make a stake, it only comes in a faux minced form. So maybe if Good Meat can make t-bones and fillets then they will have a market. We’ll see.
One day I’ll get around to trying the cultured meat. And according to the article, most of us will in our not to distant dystopian future where, I guess, only the rich will be able to afford real meat:
Most of the meat people eat in 2040 will not come from slaughtered animals [theguardian.com], according to a 2019 report from the consultancy Kearney that predicts 60% will be either grown in vats or replaced with plant-based alternatives.Worlds Largest Vats for Growing No Kill Meat to be Built in US [theguardian.com] published by The Guardian.
One thing I do wonder is what this will lead to… If we can grow meats in a vat what types of vat-meat would there be a market for? Beef, chicken, pork for sure. Vat grown bacon will be a hit if it tastes like the “real” deal. Mutton and lamb? Or venison? What about fish and shellfish? Can they grow scallops and crab legs?
And how deep does the rabbit hole go? Can we grow things like whale and dolphin? More exotic? Bush meat? Gorillas and Chimpanzees? Rare and endangered species? And the ultimate: human meat?
I mean if no one is harmed (beyond a few cells taken from volunteers), what would be wrong with vat grown human meat? This will happen, people will go there and there will be controversy. But if there is no law against it there will be people who will do it. Volumes might be small, not many will demand to dine on humans, but that just means it will be expensive and exclusive. That is a truly dystopian thought, rich people sitting in exclusive restaurants, or even more exclusive closed door gatherings dining on vat gown human flesh. Maybe they will even pay to grow meat from specific people, celebrities. Soylent Green won’t be forced on the masses but indulged in by the rich. So no “Eat the rich”, the rich will eat the famous. Is it cannibalism?