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Up next: The Lab-Grown Meat Multiverse

Mar 25, 2024 | Food
A magnifying glass over a cow pattern

Source Summary

A unique approach to lab-grown meat is emerging—and it’s not attempting to replicate real meat. With only a handful of companies approved to sell cultivated meat, and many more struggling to lower costs and fine-tune taste and texture, the once-promising industry is losing momentum. Hence, some innovators are moving away from that trend, no longer prioritizing replication but instead mixing lab-grown meat with other products. One example developed by researchers in Korea comes in the form of “beef rice”—rice infused with muscle and fat cells from cows. The result is a pink, protein-rich rice with umami flavors and a familiar fluffy texture. Though not yet commercially available, beef rice is an example of the evolving innovation around finding markets for lab-grown meat.

Lab-grown meat has faced an uphill climb to find traction with customers. A new approach that eschews an attempt at replicating the exact textures and flavors of meat to instead create a hybrid solution that is more sustainable than beef is a provocative one. Mixing lab-grown meat with a wider variety of food types bypasses the costs of trying to mimic taste and texture, meaning more accessibility and potentially more people trying out lab-grown meat products. Is beef rice the final iteration of cultivated meat? Most likely not. But perhaps it could help under-nourished populations in remote places at low costs. Until the issue of low customer adoption is resolved, we’ll continue to see myriad innovations in the lab-grown industry. Our recommendation: bacon-flavored…everything.