Fake Meat Edges Into The Market
A number of start-up companies are seeking to be the first to create a fully plant-based meat product that is realistic enough to appeal to consumers. Hampton Creek, Memphis Meats, Beyond Meat, and Impossible Foods are just a few of the food science newcomers that could change the face of modern agriculture if their products find success.
Known for introducing an eggless plant-based mayonnaise “Just Mayo” (and the scandal that followed), this company plans to release it’s meat product by the end of 2018 at more that 30% the cost of the same product from mainstream food manufacturers according to Wall Street Journal. Hampton Creek hopes to license their work on lab-grown meat to other companies within the next two years. Target began to pull its products from shelves last week citing food safety concerns, so this might not be a horse worth betting on.
After stepping on the stage earlier this year with their lab-grown meatball, Memphis Meats is upping the ante with an Indiegogo campaign which has raised nearly $140,000 from nearly 2,400 backers. This funding comes in addition to their $3 million in seed funding to harvest animal cells and grow their meat in a petri dish.
“The company will start with ground meats, but formed meats are on the roadmap, and could be chicken breast, steak, and even a whole turkey if the demand is there,” a company spokesperson told TechCrunch.
This California-based startup is already finding success with their burger made mostly from pea protein, yeast extract, beet juice, and coconut oil. With investors like Bill Gates, this product has already made its way into popular stores such as Whole Foods and Safeway. Their burgers are inching their way into fast food and will be available in eight of BurgerFi’s 101 nationwide locations beginning July 3.
Impossible Foods has been gaining notoriety for creating a plant based burger that “bleeds.” Beginning their project in 2011, the Impossible Burger is made with a key ingredient known as heme (leghemoglobin) to mimic the "beefiness" of beef. This burger is available in a number of Texas restaurants, but at a price. The Impossible Burger will run you $18 and has been described as
- A beef patty that you fished out of the bottom of a lake
- Julienned, unseasoned street leaves
- Emptying a paper shredder’s wastebasket onto a griddle
- Finely sliced cauliflower sitting out in the rain
- Ground welcome mats after your dog ran in from outside
Thankfully for livestock producers everywhere, lab-grown meat isn’t taking off too quickly; however, it is definitely something to keep a watchful eye on.