Lab-grown meat – a suitable alternative to farming?

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In the past few years a new food industry has been evolving: lab-grown meat. There are many speculations around whether lab grown meats are truly beneficial to the environment, and whether they are good for humans to consume. It is safe to say that there are a plethora of opinions on this topic. 

What is lab-grown meat?

The lab-grown meat industry first started in 2013. Researchers from a Dutch university announced that they had made the first lab-grown beef burger out of cow cells. This was seen as a revolutionary breakthrough that could fix the Earth’s emissions problem. The meat is still expected to launch in restaurants and stores in 2023. 

Lab grown beef in Petri dish
Lab grown beef (Source: Science for Students)


Many claim that lab grown meat is good for the environment because of the use of less space. This is because it is developed in labs and doesn’t require trees to be cut down to make room for cattle grazing. Farmed meat is one of the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Just one kilogram of beef releases 7kg of carbon dioxide. To find out more about the emissions of each type of meat, check out the FootprintFacts Comparisons Page. Using less space also means that cultured meat could potentially be grown in urban areas. Lab grown meat is also cleaner and has no possibility of transmitting animal-human diseases. It also eliminates the possibility of getting food borne illnesses such as salmonella.


However, many people have trust issues since they think the meat is unnatural. They have similar concerns to the foods that are GMOs(genetically modified organisms) foods. On top of that, lab grown meats result in many job losses. People who are often at the bottom of the business pyramid struggle to compete with lab grown meats. This ends up with them losing their business and they will have to struggle even more. Most of these people are in the farming industry and they choose to be in this it because they either come from a farming family, or because this is something they are ready to devote their life to. The lab grown meats industry is in some way killing their family heritage/legacy. It can force them to seek for other ways to make a living, often leaving them homeless. 

Lab grown meats are also made with no bones, blood, or fat. This means that the taste of the meat is different to normal meat. Many people are against this because they want the meat flavour. They think that there is no point of eating meat without the traditional components. 

One of the most important reasons why people are against lab grown meat are the health concerns. Lab grown meat is much more easily produced and in way more quantities meaning people are more likely to overconsume the meat. This overconsumption is a big contributor to obesity, cancer and heart diseases as well as many more harmful diseases.


Overall, the general public has many different reactions and it is safe to assume that the reactions are mixed, many good, many bad, but mostly bad because of people afraid of losing their jobs, and people liking the taste of real meat better. Only 10% of the entire population of the world are vegetarians and 0.1% are vegan which suggests why there might be more negative than positive reactions.

In conclusion, lab grown meat/food is a new, but thriving industry which has a lot of potential in the very near future. Although it could basically save world hunger, as well as many other problems such as pollution, it is important to be careful with it because of some health concerns (overconsumption, etc…). So in the end, it will not be a surprise when, in your next visit to the supermarket you will spot some lab grown foods.

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