Lab-grown Meat is Now on Shelves. But There is a Catch - Latest Global News

Lab-grown Meat is Now on Shelves. But There is a Catch

It’s also entirely plausible that the chicken would fly off the shelves. Although it contains only 3 percent animal cells, production is likely extremely limited. Eat Just, owner of Good Meat, has been in serious financial trouble for some time and is under great pressure to cut costs and present itself as a profitable business. On very small scales, even a little curiosity from buyers can seem like a huge success, even though in reality it tells us very little about the demand for cultured meat with a very low proportion of animal cells.

There is also the question of price. For a 120-gram portion of frozen chicken, Good Meat’s chicken sells for S$7.20 ($5.35) – a significant premium over similar cuts sold in supermarkets in Singapore. We already know that high prices are one of the main reasons that stop people from buying plant-based meat. So if shoppers don’t agree with Good Meat’s chicken, some might argue that it’s because of the price and not the product.

Strangely enough, none of this really matters. There’s a good chance that Singaporean buyers aren’t the intended target audience for Good Meat’s chicken. They are actually the actors who will hopefully put on a show for the people who really matter at the moment: the investors.

After an initial wave of enthusiasm, meat-raising startups have recently found it difficult to raise money. The industry raised $226 million in 2023 – down from $922 million in 2022 and a larger decline than the overall industry-wide decline in venture funding. Eat Just, in particular, is embroiled in an expensive legal battle with a former supplier and is under pressure to bring in new money to keep it operating.

Enthusiasm for the industry has also been dampened by laws in Florida and Alabama that ban the sale of cultured meat. Launching in a retail store gives Good Meat a positive story to sell to investors who will hopefully add the cash injection the industry needs to keep moving forward.

As with high-end restaurant openings in the U.S. that quickly ground to a halt, we shouldn’t expect each milestone to flow seamlessly into the next—one retail store, then ten, then 20. The industry is still in its extremely early stages, and These experiments are as much about getting investors’ attention as they are about raising consumer expectations.

It could be that predominantly plant-based chicken fillets do not attract the enthusiasm of investors and consumers. Other startups in this space are trying to get around the cost issue by imitating high-end products like sushi-grade salmon or steak. Others are still captivated by the strangeness of it all. Australian startup Vow sells cultured quail parfait in a restaurant in Singapore. It is too early to say which of these approaches will be successful or whether any of them will be successful.

All of this is not to be scoffed at when it comes to cultured meat. It’s just too early to know whether the industry is on the right track to solving the major difficulties in reducing the cost of its brewed animal cells, and whether cultured meat can delight consumers in the way that meat can plant-based couldn’t do it. We will have to wait a long time for answers to these questions.

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