Locally sourced meat has an entirely new meaning when its origin is actually a laboratory instead of a farm. Memphis Meats isn't a barbecue joint, but rather a California startup creating meat in petri dishes from stem cells to disrupt the notoriously inefficient meat market, according to Fortune. The idea isn't totally new but the company is on the fast-track to hitting the restaurant market in three years and the consumer market in five, according to the Huffington Post.
For about nine to 21 days, animal protein cells grow into normal-sized meats with the help of applied oxygen and nutrients like sugar and minerals, Gothamist reported. "We are growing meat which is safer, healthier, more sustainable," cardiologist and co-founder Uma S. Valeti said, according to the Huffington Post. Their meat is "identical at the molecular and cellular level" to that of pigs, chickens and cows, Valeti told the Huffington Post. The manufacturing base is slated to be built in the United States, but Valeti hopes to get one in India and China soon.
Although raising livestock is a means of livelihood for some, it also causes high amounts of greenhouse emissions and uses large amounts of water and land, NPR reported. Memphis Meats claims its lab-grown meat takes 90% less water and land and 50% less energy, according to Fortune, as well as 90% less greenhouse gases, according to Gothamist.
Compared to the rest of the world, Americans eat almost the most meat per person — at a rate of 270.7 pounds per person per year, according to NPR. (Luxembourg exceeds that at 301.4 pounds per person a year.) Meat consumption is also very unevenly distributed, as those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo only eat 10.2 pounds per person per year. Memphis Meats states the current meat industry will be unable to support the world in the long run, according to Fortune.
The meats grown by Memphis Meats supposedly have nothing to do with animals after the cells are harvested, Fortune reported. They can also be made leaner than livestock meat.
In a YouTube promo, the company allegedly creates and cooks the first meatball with beef cells and without the death of a cow. Valeti calls it "the meatball that changed the world."