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CARBON COPY

Forget plant-based meat—lab-grown meat is the future

Jeannie Phan for Quartz
  • Chase Purdy
By Chase Purdy

Food Reporter

Let’s start with something kind of wild. On Oct. 7, it was announced that astronauts on the International Space Station had successfully grown their own meat from microscopic animal cells, using a process called cell-culturing. The bit of cow muscle they produced was small, but it was a historic accomplishment nonetheless.

The ISS project was part of a joint venture by San Francisco-based Finless Foods and Israel-based Aleph Farms, just two of many startups pioneering the concept of cell-cultured meat. Their technology isn’t just a sci-fi fantasy, conceived to nourish future space colonies: It has very real implications for our food systems right now.

Already in supermarkets around the US, plant-based meat products are appearing in actual meat sections. More and more fast food restaurants and retail outlets are adding the Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods burgers to their menu boards; massive companies, including Nestlé, see enough interest to create their own plant-based burgers.

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