Often when people think of alternative proteins, they think meat substitutes such as Plant Based Meat meat. However, Lab Grown meats are not made from plants. In fact, they taste like real meat because they ARE real meat! They provide options for people who are unable to reduce meat from their diets to eat sustainably as well.
What's the problem?
Traditional meat farming is less sustainable than vegetable farming. However, only 17% of Canadians choose to make an active effort to reduce their meat consumption. This 17% consists of vegetarians, vegans, and flexitarians (a new diet termed coined for people who are "flexible", and will only eat meat when necessary).
The problem lies in the fact that conventional meat is simply too tasty, rooted in too many cultural practices and traditions, making it too difficult to give up. Lab-grown meat is a solution to these barriers.
What is Lab Grown Meat?
At a cellular level, lab-grown meat is the same as regular meat. However, the method of farming and growth is different as it is made in a controlled laboratory environment.
The production of lab-based meats occurs over a 2 to 8 week period, depending on the type of cultivated meat. To start, an animal’s stem cells are banked and subsequently cultivated in bioreactors, where they are fed an oxygenated culture medium composed of basic nutrients and protein supplements necessary for growth. Over time, changes in medium composition initiate differentiation amongst cells to produce the various components of meat, such as skeletal muscle, fat, and connective tissue, until they can be harvested and prepared into the final meat product.