Part of the issue is that there’s a leadership vacuum. For awhile, the Good Food Institute served as the de facto lobbying and representing group for the burgeoning cell-cultured meat industry. Then five prominent Silicon Valley-based startups decided to start a more official trade group for the industry. On August 29, JUST, Memphis Meats, Finless Foods, BlueNalu, and Fork and Goode created the Alliance for Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Innovation (AMPS).

In the three-and-a-half months since its founding, though, the group has not hired a full-time staff. Nor has its grown its membership ranks to include the more than three dozen other companies in the space.

It might matter a lot

Some company executives may feel fine leaving the naming issue low on a list of priorities, but not everyone agrees that’s the best path forward.

“I do think it matters quite a lot because we know what a food is called has an impact on whether people will want to buy it or not,” says Paul Shapiro, founder of the Better Meat Company. “I’m one of the people who thinks this really does matter.”

As detailed in a 2017 article published in the journal Public Understanding of Science, the team behind the first public unveiling of cell-cultured meat science in London in 2013 painstakingly planned the event, down to the terms that would be used when speaking with media.

“Before the press conference, there was no culturally available definition with the resonance to persist and bring together shared meanings,” the research states. “After 2013, the cultured burger and the media event around it provide a foothold, a reference point for future sense-making practices about what in vitro meat is.”

If cell-cultured meat goes through a similar media spectacle in 2020, it’ll be another opportunity for consumers to make sense of it all.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.