"[C]ultured beef has the answers to major problems that the world faces"

Study after study has shown that the way farming is currently done will be simply unsustainable by 2050, due to rising population and a growing hunger for meat in countries such as China and Brazil. Plant-based protein substitutes could help head off the crisis — but so far, veggie burgers haven’t exactly taken hold in mass markets…

“What we are going to attempt is important because I hope it will show cultured beef has the answers to major problems that the world faces,” Post said in a statement issued in advance of the tasting. “Our burger is made from muscle cells taken from a cow. We haven’t altered them in any way. For it to succeed, it has to look, feel and hopefully taste like the real thing.”

Over the past five years, Post and his colleagues in the Netherlands have worked out a system to take stem cells from a living cow, put them into a nutrient solution, and grow them into small strands of muscle tissue. About 20,000 such strands are needed to make one five-ounce burger…

Lab-grown meat, also known as in-vitro meat or “shmeat” (sheet meat), is just one of the more recent twists in a decades-long effort to develop alternatives to the kind of meat humans have been eating for millennia. Several research groups are working on plant-based substitutes that have a better taste and texture than the current offerings, as well as a lower cost. Among the research leaders in the field are Beyond Meat, Match, Plenti and a stealth venture known as Maraxi.