Food Artificial meat: Meat from the laboratory should conquer the kitchens - but the prices are salted

14:10  29 may  2019
14:10  29 may  2019 Source:   stern.de

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Künstliches Fleisch: Fleisch aus dem Labor soll die Küchen erobern - doch die Preise sind gesalzen © Getty Images So far there have only been minced meat from the laboratory, there is still a long way to go before the texture of real meat.

Meat for which no animal had to die sounds tempting. But a kilo of artificial tuna still costs $ 8,000. And the taste is not convincing either.

The meat from the laboratory will come. Start-ups like Memphis Meats, New Age Meats, Aleph Farms or Finless Foods are already working on cultivated meat. Finless Foods from San Francisco produces red tuna that has never seen the ocean. The starting product is some real cells, which then multiply in a nutrient solution, after three weeks the tuna is ready.

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According to the " Wall Street Journal ", the company plans to launch the laboratory delicacies this year. However, it should only be sold to expensive restaurants, a product for the mass market will only be cultivated meat in about five years, said Mike Selden, founder and managing director of the company to the "WSJ".

The market could be there. A quarter of Americans aged 25 to 34 today say they are vegans or vegetarians , and The Economist magazine even declared 2019 the "Year of the Vegan". But it is unclear how these customers will absorb the artificial meat. Do vegetarians and vegans accept laboratory meat because no animal had to die for it? Or is it still "meat" for them?

Fight for the words

The makers don't like to hear the word "laboratory meat". From this term it is only a small jump to "Frankenfleisch" - in memory of the Frankenstein monster. They prefer "cultivated meat" or "clean meat". Artificial, laboratory and food - this triad has a smack. "Every large brewery has a room in the background that is clean and people in white lab coats, and yet we don't speak of beer produced in the laboratory," Michael Selde told The Atlantic. "But with us, for some reason, it's laboratory fish, even though it's exactly the same."

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To begin with, "cultivated" meat will be something for rich people who want to try something new. A kilo of laboratory tuna by Michael Selde currently costs $ 8,000 . So there is still a long way to go to the inexpensive meat alternative. According to "WSJ", the laboratories will initially copy the most exclusive traditional meats, in order to position their products as innovative luxury.

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The taste has to be worked on

"We do not want to offer a low-cost and low-price product," said Didier Toubia, the head of Aleph Farms from Israel the newspaper. Aleph Farms is a bit further, however. Last year the company presented a - thin - steak, the production of which cost $ 50. The company plans to supply retail in 2023. Didier Toubia assumes that the production costs will decrease, but the prices for the product should remain high. "There is no reason why we shouldn't sell our products at a certain premium."

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At least that's what Toubia says. But the response to previous tastings has not been exhilarating. Aleph's steak is edible, but it's by no means worth $ 50. Other manufacturers of artificial chicken meat did not even offer a "grown" piece of meat, but tried nuggets - which, however, were only reasonably convincing. "The Atlantic" praised the crispy breading and the seasoning, but the meat of all was not convincing.

To establish itself as a high-priced product, some development work has to be done. Because the substitute is still lacking structure and shape to enjoy meat that is similar to the original. Only one cell paste comes from the Petri dish. Finless Foods is also working on the texture of the tuna. "I would be lying if I said that we had completely solved this problem," admitted Selden. The way out could be a 3D print of sashimi snacks or entrecotes.

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