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The tug of war between farmers and lab grown food industry

“Lab meat” or “cultured meat”, “plant-based meat” There are also some similar terms that are being tossed around on the internet which relates to meat that is grown artificially, but it is ultimately derived from a different source.

Currently, people who are working in the agriculture sector or who run small local farms, are the main meat and food suppliers. Their income depends on people consuming natural food that was grown on farm fields. However, everything might come to an end since farmers might be facing the potential future drastic shift on how their consumers interact with them if cultured meat will become popular.

In the developed nations and in some parts of Asia companies are moving quickly to bring to market meat products that are grown from animal cells in a lab, also known as “clean”, “cultivated” or “cultured” meats.

 

In Singapore, on 2nd December 2020 lab-grown meat was approved for sale by a regulatory authority for the first time. Who is forging this new industry? In 2017 Memphis Meats, Berkeley, California took in $17 million from sources that included Bill Gates and agricultural company, Cargill.

Whilst the forefront runners of this industry like the Bill Gates like to believe that, lab-grown meat has huge potential environmentally, interestingly some researchers say the rise of lab-grown meat could actually make climate change worse since the process requires large energy inputs.

Also an Oxford study in 2019, for example, found that lab-grown meat is not necessarily superior to livestock, since the long-term temperature impact of production is significantly worse than any livestock system.

The study suggests that replacing livestock systems with lab-grown meat production before energy generation is sufficiently decarbonized or the production footprint is optimized, could risk having a long-term, negative climate impact.

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