The Wall Street Journal went under the hood of the lab-grown meat industry, also known as cultured or cell-cultured meat, and the struggles inside.
The Journal particularly focused on what is happening at UPSIDE Foods, which received a blessing from the United States Food and Drug Administration regarding its process for making cultured chicken, essentially claiming it was safe to eat and making it the first company to receive this approval. Eat Just, which sells its product in Singapore, the first country to approve the sale of cultured meat, follow upgetting its “thumbs up” from the FDA in March.
The WSJ story pays particular attention to UPSIDE Foods’ success in manufacturing small batches of its chicken product, as well as its inability to produce large quantities of the product at low cost, or even at par. prices with traditional meat – and to be fair, the more cultured meat companies also struggle with this.
“Initially, our chicken will be sold at a premium,” Uma Valeti, founder and CEO of UPSIDE, told TechCrunch in November. “As we scale, we expect to eventually achieve price parity with conventionally produced meat. Our goal is to ultimately be more affordable than conventionally produced meat.
Companies in this sector make meat from animal cells fed with growth factors. The production and pricing challenges presented in the WSJ story are not new, however. “Is cell culture meat ready for prime time?was not just a clever TechCrunch+ headline, but a legitimate question posed in early 2022 that still hasn’t been answered.
Most of the cultured meat stories in our archives include at least one sentence about how difficult it was for companies to produce mass quantities and create food this way so that the finished product cost less than $10 a pound.