When is a hamburger not a hamburger? That’s the question many are asking as plant-based proteins are beginning to replace meat on some menus.KFC fried chicken made of soybean, pea and wheat protein hit the headlines even before anyone really got a chance to taste it. The restaurant chain limited servings to several thousand for just three days.
Meat eaters are our target market. For our products to actually address the problems we are working to address (problems like greenhouse gas emissions, chronic disease, and human rights abuses in the poultry industry), they need to be eaten instead of conventionally raised chickens, not in addition to these products. Our goal is to make nuggets for people who love chicken nuggets but don’t necessarily love all of the negative externalities associated with poultry production.
Kolbeck and Elfenbein’s mission is to develop a platform and set of technologies that would allow any meat to be cultured in the lab using well-defined procedures. The two are stealthy around their technology, which is still in development. But the essential concept is to multiply basic animal cells in the lab and effectively culture meat. This means that the meat is fundamentally “meat,” and not a meat substitute using plant cells like Impossible Foods’ Impossible Burger.
While lab-grown meat is in development around the world, Israel’s Aleph Farms claims to be the first company to develop steak in a laboratory. And as Heather Yourex-West explains, Canadian beef producers aren’t buying into what’s being labelled as a kinder, cleaner alternative to the real deal.