Companies around the world have found a way of producing meat by the culture of the animal’s cells. Could this spread worldwide and become a sustainable meat substitute?
What is SuperMeat?
SuperMeat was founded in 2015 by an Israeli company that strived to create cultured chicken made from the cell tissue of this animal. SuperMeat aims to provide an identical form of meat without causing harm to animals or the planet. Sustainability is the main motive of the company, they say.
SuperMeat has now opened its first-ever test restaurant, ‘The Chicken’, offering its products in an eatery that the public can access. The Chicken is the first restaurant of its kind and states “All of our chicken is sustainable, eco- and animal-friendly. The Chicken is at the forefront of a food revolution to provide nutritional security, drastically reduce carbon emissions, and increase food safety worldwide.”
Photo Credit: SuperMeat, Dror Varshavski
What if the world turned to SuperMeat?
In a world where the vegan movement is growing, there are still many that personally do not want a plant-based lifestyle. However, if SuperMeat is successful worldwide, would many chose this sustainable food choice? SuperMeat is indistinguishable from chicken; the process is carried out with great care in a safe environment, ensuring that they produce the best quality possible.
Looking at the big picture, if the world got on the trend of SuperMeat and the cultured meat movement spread worldwide, sales and the related carbon emissions of animal products would go down. This would positively impact the over-cultivation of land too.
A Cruelty-Free Meat World?
The large worldwide corporation McDonald’s has recently signed a contract with Beyond Meat. This means that one of the world’s largest restaurant chains is supporting plant-based options on their menu like never before. Beyond Meat has also signed with the company Yum!, which works with big chains such as Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC.
Now that McDonald’s and Beyond Meat have gone into partnership with each other, these companies plan on developing other products together, such as egg and chicken, and are not just restricted to beef alternatives.
SuperMeat provides information on how their chicken is made through their website, suggesting they are open about their processes. First, they begin with taking cells from one chicken harmlessly. Then, they start culturing the ‘seed’ of the cell into the meat-like final product. Similarly to sourdough bread, you begin with your culture and you add to it constantly to make it grow.
I myself heard of SuperMeat years ago when the founders were discussing the funding and plans for their company. I was surprised to see how far they have come: now they’re rolling out test kitchens. Looking for more companies that are trying to develop cultured meat, I found a company called GOOD Meat. They are similar to JustEgg, a vegan egg alternative.
Like SuperMeat and using a similar process, GOOD Meat is also motivated to create sustainable, cruelty-free meat that does not come at the cost of the planet’s well-being.
Although this phenomenon of cultured meat is cruelty-free and does not harm animals, it is important to keep in mind that it is not regarded as vegan. Cultured meat is classified as real meat by its creators and is a great way of providing a product to consumers who do not desire to be vegan or eat plant-based foods.
GOOD Meat only offers chicken like SuperMeat; however, maybe there is the possibility of different kinds of meats being developed in the future, lessening the slaughter of millions of animals worldwide.
Both cultured meat companies value the nutrition of their customers and their products are antibiotic-free, unlike normal chicken products. “GOOD Meat Cultured Chicken is high in protein and essential amino acids, low in saturated fat and is free of antibiotics.”
It is commonly known that slaughterhouses’ conditions are not good, and the employees are faced with bad working conditions. There is a lack of control and regulation, meaning that slaughterhouses are not safe or clean places to work in. They are ranked as one of the worst places in America to work.
On the subject of food safety, GOOD Meat states: “GOOD Meat Cultured Chicken is manufactured under controlled conditions which are assured by working with organizations such as the Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC) in Singapore that has years of experience in food manufacturing. Our cultured chicken has undergone an extensive and thorough evaluation process by the regulatory authorities in Singapore, which included evaluation of a safety package by a panel of scientific experts. Our cultured chicken product and manufacturing processes were found to meet these safety requirements.”
This statement clarifies the company’s position and offers reassurances that the product they are selling is coming from a clean and ethical environment.
I personally think great opportunities could arise from this. Cruelty-free pet food is a clear example. It would be an excellent option for vegan cat and dog owners to purchase cruelty-free pet food that still contains meat for their pet’s total nutrition, but without the guilt.