A San Francisco-based startup is creating chicken from self-reproducing cells, and it tastes pretty close to the real thing.
Memphis Meats Inc., along with other startups like Mosa Meats, is in pursuit of creating what it calls “clean meat,” The Wall Street Journal reports. The company, researchers, and animal-rights groups claim the new product could shake up the $200 billion meat industry in the U.S. By supplanting traditional animal meat with lab-grown protein, the proponents say they can make the industry more efficient and humane.
Memphis Meats made the big reveal of its new chicken product to an exclusive group of taste-testers Tuesday. After eating a fried chicken strip, those in attendance said they would eat it again. The company is expected to go public with the product Wednesday.
Chicken is just the latest in a series of meat-based lab experiments. Companies have already conquered beef, creating hamburgers and meatballs cultivated from bovine cells.
Americans consume massive amounts of meat every year. In 2016, America chowed down on 24.8 billion pounds of beef and ate an average of 90.9 pounds of chicken per person.
Large meat producing companies are paying attention to what Memphis Meats and other companies are doing. Tyson foods, one of the largest producers of meats in the U.S., started a venture-capital fund that could reportedly invest in lab-growth technologies.
Memphis Meats does face one significant obstacle, even if consumers like the taste. As it stands, the company can produce one pound of chicken for the steep price of $9,000. The average price of a chicken breast is just under $3.22 a pound.
With such a high cost relative to its yield, it isn’t likely that lab-grown meat will make a significant impact on the market any time soon.
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