With today’s presentation of the first lab grown hamburger by Prof. Mark Post, in-vitro meat makes an important step towards our daily diet. Cultured meat could one day be a sustainable and animal friendly alternative to today’s meat production. Yet, despite this technological breakthrough, many people still find it is an unattractive idea to eat meat from the lab. Before we can decide if we will ever be willing to eat in-vitro, we need to explore the food culture it will bring us.
While most of the ongoing research focuses on duplicating current meat products (like hamburgers) and making the cultured beef affordable, sustainable and tasty, the envisioning of new meat products that fit this new technology is equally important. Just like industrial manufacturing brought us new furniture, in-vitro meat technology may lead to entirely new food products, beyond todays sausages, steaks and burgers.
Besides a Hamburger, What Else?
Although cultured meat is typically presented as a technology to solve problems like animal suffering, food scarcity and climate issues, the technology could also be framed positively: Eating in-vitro could bring us entirely new food experiences and eating habits that may enrich our lives.