Dear Quartz members—
Plant-based products that look and taste (almost) like meat are showing up on supermarket counters and fast food restaurant menus with incredible speed. But might they soon be eclipsed by something else?
The nascent industry of entrepreneurs and scientists growing real meat tissue from tiny animal cells is on the verge of getting its products onto the market—with the promise of a better meat experience that looks, smells, and tastes, well, like the real thing. They say it will soon be affordable too.
In our field guide for members this week, Chase Purdy, a Quartz reporter and author of the forthcoming book, Billion Dollar Burger, explores how this industry came to be, what it means for the future of food, and why it’s viewed as a vital technology to help avoid climate-related disaster.
Chase’s state of play lays out everything you need to know about the development of cell-cultured meat. He examines who the key players are, who’s funding their endeavors, the biggest obstacles they face (hint: it’s no longer the science), and why these high-tech products might eventually eclipse plant-based meat as the go-to alternative to meat from slaughtered animals.
Another of his stories explores the bioreactors in which the meat grows. They have proven tricky to scale but could one day be worth many billions of dollars.
Here are a few conversation starters from our guide:
- The first cell-cultured beef patty, unveiled by Mosa Meat in 2013, cost $1.2 million a pound. Six years later, Aleph Farms says its sliced steak costs $50 a pound.
- Plant-based burgers—including the Impossible Burger—are heavily processed, and high in things like sodium. How healthy is fake meat made entirely of plants?
- The bioreactors used to grow cell-cultured meat are basically big mechanical cows—and there are five different types currently in use.
- Among investors in this new technology are Bill Gates, Li Ka-shing, Solina Chau, and Richard Branson.
Join us for a discussion on Friday at 11am ET with Chase and Quartz science editor, Katie Palmer, where they’ll discuss the ins and outs of this new industry and the challenges that still lie ahead for it.
We’ll be taking questions and comments live on the video conference call, accessible at the usual location. If you’d like to dial in, use the following numbers:
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For all of the numbers, the access code is 722 994 440.
Tue., Oct. 29, 11:00am ET: Heather Landy, editor of Quartz At Work and Oliver Staley, Quartz culture editor discuss the rise of a new science for measuring human talent and potential, that moves beyond blunt instruments like tests and interviews.
Thu., Oct 31, 11:00am ET: Mike Murphy, Quartz technology editor, and Jason Karaian, global finance and economics editor, drill into tech companies’ earnings reports to identify the high and low points we should pay attention to.
(To add our complete schedule of upcoming conference calls to your Google calendar, click here.) Please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any feedback, or suggestions for other things we should cover. Another great way to give feedback on Quartz membership is to complete this short survey.
Best wishes for a productive week,
Executive editor, Quartz