Petri dish chicken just got a step closer to your dinner plate.
GOOD Meat, the cultivated food unit of California-based company Eat Just, announced that it received a so-called “no questions” letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicating that its cultured chicken product is safe for consumption.
The clearance marks the second time a lab-grown meat product has gotten the green light from the FDA. Cell-cultured chicken meat from UPSIDE Foods, another California-based company, was cleared by the agency last November.
Though a big step forward for the industry, the FDA letters (pdf) do not give approval for the products to enter the US market. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) must also give its nod for the chicken to hop from the lab to restaurants and retailers.
GOOD Meat has already cooked up plans for when that day arrives. Celebrity chef José Andrés will become the first in the country to serve what the company calls “meat without slaughter” in a Washington, DC restaurant, according to a press release.
Its products have been sold in Singapore since 2020. Currently, no lab-grown meat products are on the market for US consumers.
The cultured meat industry, by the digits
$246.9 million: Value of the global lab-grown meat market in 2022, according to Grand View Research
51.6%: Projected compound annual growth rate for the cultured meat industry from 2023-2030, according to Grand View Research
400%: Increase in investment in the UK cultured meat industry in 2022, according to the Good Food Institute
107: Total number of cultivated meat companies in 2021, according to the Good Food Institute
$330,000: Cost of the first lab-grown burger created in 2013, or about €200,000
$9.80: Estimated cost of a lab-grown burger in 2019, or about €9
$25 billion: Estimated value of the cultured meat industry by 2030, according to a McKinsey report
Is there consumer appetite for lab-grown meat?
Despite cultivated meat’s animal-friendly and eco-conscious credentials, not all consumers are eager to chomp into the lab-grown product.
A 2022 study from the Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide, Australia found that only about one quarter of consumers are willing to eat lab grown chicken or beef. These were largely younger and more educated consumers who experienced higher enjoyment while eating compared to others.
Plant-based alternatives, for now, appear to be more popular than meat alternatives—then again, they are also the only ones available for purchase.
The study also found (pdf) that greater familiarity with lab-grown meat predicted greater willingness to eat the products. It could be that attitudes will shift as mainstream knowledge of lab-grown meat alternatives becomes more common among consumers.
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