Lab-grown meat just reached a major milestone. Here’s what comes next. 

It sounds like a lot, but in the overall scheme of food production, it is quite small. Large commercial meat facilities produce millions of pounds of meat each year — and that’s the kind of scale Upside is aiming for for its first commercial facility, says the company. Eric SchulzeVice President of Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Upside Foods, in an email.

Eat Just’s cultured meat subsidiary Good Meat operates two demonstration facilities, one in the US and one in Singapore. These facilities use large reactors with capacities of 3,500 and 6,000 liters, respectively, said Andrew Noyes, Eat Just’s vice president of communications. Again, those sound like giant reactors, but the company’s plans for the first commercial operation include 10 250,000-litre reactors, and the total capacity will be around approx. 30 million pounds (13.6 million kilograms) per year.

The way forward

While scaling up proven processes in labs and pilot facilities will be a big step forward for the industry in the future, I’m also interested in seeing what new types of products hit the market in the next few years. Have more than 150 companies in the farmed meat industry, producing everything from beef to tuna to products unlike anything else on the market today.

Some of the potential bottlenecks faced by companies trying to bring new products to market include developing new strains, says Jess Krieger, founder and CEO of the farmed meat company. cells, design and build bioreactors, and create the structure of meat. Ohyo Valleyin a panel discussion.

I’m particularly interested in that last part, because the texture of the meat greatly determines our experience of eating it. Some people, including Krieger, want to use plants to provide it. Others plan to use manufacturing techniques: Upside Foods plans to grow its cells in ways that help develop the fibrous texture of chicken. Still others, including Steak foodare looking to 3D print their meat to reproduce the tenderness of fish or the tenderness of a properly cooked steak.

Food is so important to our lives, and the technology that is working to bring new options to our plates is evolving rapidly. Maybe one day, teenagers who want to stop eating animals won’t have to give up chicken sandwiches.

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