Cultivated Meat: A Glimpse into the Future of Sustainable Dining

July 18th 2023, an article on cultivated meat technology with our JBN materials was published. 

UConn is developing cultivated meat technology. So when can you serve beef that harmed no cow?

Cultivated meat has only been in existence for about a decade, and researchers expect further breakthroughs to overcome current limitations. There are two main methods of cultivating meat: one involves growing animal cells in the lab, while the other utilizes pluripotent stem cells that can differentiate into meat or fat and can divide indefinitely. The latter approach holds the most promise for large-scale production.  Researchers at the University of Connecticut vouch for the authenticity of cultivated meat, affirming that it shares the same DNA as its animal counterparts. However, they acknowledge the challenges in scaling up production, making it more widely available. This development raises hopes for animal welfare but may not have an immediate impact on mitigating climate change due to its energy-intensive production process. Despite the challenges, researchers at UConn, including Professor Cindy Tian and Associate Professor Yupeng Chen, are committed to the advancement of cultivated meat technology. They are combining their expertise in DNA-based nanotechnology and pluripotent stem cells to contribute to its development.

The CEO of UPSIDE Foods, Eric Schulze, emphasizes the importance of scaling up production to make cultivated meat widely accessible and affordable. The company’s goal is to secure a portion of the global meat market, estimated at $1.7 trillion, and bring cultivated meat into commercial production in the next few years. While cultivated meat shows potential as a climate-friendly alternative, it is not a standalone solution to combat climate change. Schulze believes that reducing greenhouse gases through a transition from animal agriculture to plant-based options is crucial for a sustainable future. Cultivated meat presents a promising alternative to conventional animal-derived products, with potential benefits for animal welfare and reducing environmental impact. However, it still requires substantial research, innovation, and scalability to become a viable, mainstream solution for sustainable dining.