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Nobody's Gonna Eat Lab-Grown Meat Just Because It's Better for the Planet


In vitro meat manufacturers have to bring something else to the table.

Ever since the world's first lab-grown hamburger debuted back in 2013, the industry of in vitro meat production has been accelerating at a breakneck pace. We're closer than ever to having lab-grown meat on grocery store shelves, but as the barriers of technology and cost are broken down, one significant hurdle remains: How do we convince people to eat it?

Winning over meat-eaters, the industry's target market, will take effort. Telling consumers that lab-grown meat is better for the planet won't be enough—history shows that this hasn't convinced many to change what's on their plates. Add in the fact that people are wigged out that this meat is produced in a lab, instead of on a living animal, and it gets harder still. To really get people to change, in vitro meat manufacturers will have to bring something else to the table.

David Kay is the business analyst for Memphis Meats, which revealed its new lab-grown chicken and duck this week. He told me the company's plan is to make a product that's identical to meat as we know it, and then to educate people about why their version is better.

"We don't see us as asking folks to change their diet," Kay told me. "All we're doing is producing the same product that people have enjoyed for millennia in a different process that's better for the environment, the animals, and public health. We think if we communicate that clearly, folks will be able to get behind this."

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