Lab-Grown Meat: The Ultimate Game Changer

What if we could have meat that didn’t require an animal to be slaughtered or the environment to be harmed? You may be thinking… that’s just impossible. I mean, isn’t that why many of us became vegan – to mitigate animal suffering and protect our planet? Yes, but as the world’s human population explodes, so does the number of animals being slaughtered for food. As much as we’d like everyone to go vegan tomorrow, that’s not likely to happen. Enter lab-grown meat. Also known as in-vitro meat, cultured meat, cultivated meat and clean meat, it’s a technology that’s arrived and is now being produced around the globe. 

Meet Didier Toubia and Aleph Farms 

Aleph Farms is a lab-meat company based in Israel, producing in-vitro steaks directly from cow cells. Elysabeth Alfano, of the Plant-Based Business Hour, talked to Didier Toubia, the co-founder and CEO of the company. Watch the interview below to better understand the science behind cultivated meat. Learn how lab-grown meat made it into space and find out about the potential geopolitical impacts of cultivated meat.

 Lab-Grown Meat Hits a Major Milestone in Singapore

Lab-grown chicken

This lab-grown chicken served in Singapore made global headlines in 2020. Credit: Eat Just and 1880

In late 2020, the sale of GOOD Meat’s cultured chicken was approved by Singapore, making it the world’s first government to approve the sale of lab-grown meat. The company is run by San Francisco’s Eat Just,  which you might know as the creator of JUST Egg. That’s a vegan egg that can actually be made like scrambled eggs.

The first serving of lab-grown chicken at the Singapore restaurant 1800, in December of 2020, made headlines globally. The menu items read this way: “Bao bun with crispy sesame cultured chicken and spring onion; phyllo puff pastry with cultured chicken and black bean puree; and a crispy maple waffle with cultured chicken with spices and hot sauce.”

 

 Lab-Meat is a Global Phenomenon

Aleph Farms is changing the game in another part of the world – Israel, which is said to have the most vegans per capita in the world! It’s a hot spot for this type of innovation. They grow their meat directly from the cells of a living animal which they maintain they can harvest without harming the animal. Their goal is to reproduce the real experience of meat and achieve three dimensions of quality they identify as nutritional, sensory, and culinary. The product should be available by 2022. 

Still looking to know more about cultivated meat? Check out this document from the Good Food Institute.

Cultivated Steak

Is this lab-grown meat or did an animal die to produce these steak strips? It’s impossible to tell by looking. And, lab-meat proponents say it’s impossible to tell by tasting it.

Staying Close to Nature

In his conversation with Elysabeth Alfano, Didier Toubia outlines his desire to stay as close to nature as possible. He uses nature as inspiration for innovation. He relates this to the invention of the wheel resulting from people observing rocks rolling in nature. Toubia sees nature as “the ultimate engineer.” His commitment to nature’s design and genius is inspiring. He speaks as an artist bringing forth their artwork into the world.

Why Aleph Farms Believes in Lab-Grown Meat

Slaughter-Free Steaks

Building Trust 

Aleph Farms has a visitor center and hosts group tours where generations of people can see the innovation happening. They hope this type of transparency will cultivate the trust needed to ensure the success of this revolutionary product. Toubia identifies this transparency as totally unique from the conventional meat market. 

What Makes Aleph Farms Unique 

When you hear Didier Toubia speak about his company, you can tell he has his whole heart in it. His company is value-driven. Transparency, global responsibility, passion, trust, and quality define their work. Toubia sees Aleph Farms not as science-based but as emotion-based, producing not a tech product but an emotional one. He values having the privilege to shape the behavior of consumers and embraces the extensive impact of food as a cultural, emotional, sensory, communal, and artful experience. 

As a commitment to the future and to those who will be most affected by this type of innovation, Aleph Farms has a Z board, a group of Gen Z leaders from around the world who give input to drive strategy for the company. 

Aleph Farms has also grown meat on the International Space Station! Check this out! 

Elysabeth Alfano is the host of The Awesome Vegans Influencer Series and the Plantbased Business Hour, airing every Tuesday and Thursday at 1p PT on Jane Unchained News.  She is also the Founder of Plant Powered Consulting, helping vegan brands increase brand awareness and sales.  Follow her at @ElysabethAlfano on socials and find more information here.