Lab-grown steaks are coming

You’ve probably heard of Beyond and Impossible, both projects to make non-meat taste like meat. They’ve shipped ground beef, and are selling burgers in fast food. But what if this is all a mis-steak? What if you could make a luxurious cut of ‘beef’?

gelatin scaffold for growing steak

Beyond and Impossible are both plant-based. That’s fine, but to go further, scientists are doing something much more futuristic sounding. Researchers at Harvard University are simulating meat by growing cow and rabbit muscle cells on a scaffold made out of gelatin.

“Wait,” you say, “gelatin isn’t vegan. What’s the point?” You’re right. Collagen comes from the skin, bones and connective tissue of domesticated animals. The point is, this is research, and if it someday has the effect of reducing the amount of animals raised for slaughter in factory conditions, maybe there’s something to learn here.

For now, this remains a research project. Trying to scale it up to consumption levels is both difficult and expensive. But, lab grown burgers were originally 325,000 USD, and are planned to be for sale for $10 in 2021. Maybe steaks can get to consumer-level pricing over time. I’ll be ready with an appetite.

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