We’ve come a long way since the first lab-grown burger was cooked and eaten for $325,000 in 2013. And here are 3 companies that have made it happen.
1. Impossible Foods
Founded in 2011 and backed by Bill Gates, Impossible Foods is famous for the plant burger that bleeds. Replacing heme, the molecule in normal meat that makes it bleed, with leghemoglobin derived from soybeans, they’ve found a way to make a plant-based burger made from wheat protein, potato protein and coconut oil that both behaves and tastes like real meat.
And they’re growing fast. Just last month, the company opened a new factory in California, bringing their total production to 1 million pounds of meat per month- an increase by 250 times what they were making previously. Aiming to be available in 1,000 restaurants by the end of the year, they are already on the menus of hundreds of restaurants across the US, such as San Francisco’s Cockscomb where they cost $19 each.
2. Memphis Meats
Founded in 2015, it took Memphis Meats just one year to make its first lab-grown meatball. And then it took just another year and a half to create its first lab-grown crispy fried chicken and duck à l’orange. Growing their meat from animal cells in a brewery-like setting, the start-up estimates its products will hit the market in 2021, giving them time to reduce current costs of $9,000 per pound of chicken to a more market competitive $3.22 per pound.
Although the company claims their methods require 90% less land, water and gas emissions than conventionally produced meats, they still use fetal bovine serum, collected from the blood of dead unborn calves, to kickstart cell division. However, they claim to replace this with a plant-based alternative by the end of the year.
3. Finless Foods
Having started only this year, Finless Foods is a four-man bio-tech company on a mission to meet the world’s increasing demand for fish by producing it from cell cultures. Having an agreement with a local aquarium, whenever a fish dies there, they pick it up and feed its cells a mix of salts, carbohydrates and proteins in their lab- which lets the cells multiply under brewery-like conditions.
Although founded in 2016, the company has estimated its first blue-fin tuna product will hit the market in either 2019 or 2020. But until then, like Memphis Meats, they are also looking to replace their usage of bovine serum.