Last Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed a meat product derived from animal cells - a.k.a. "lab-grown meat" - to be safe for consumption.
More specifically, California-based Upside Foods (formerly known as Memphis Meats) will take living cells from chickens, grow them in a controlled laboratory environment, and produce a slaughter-free chicken product.
And this is just the start. The FDA said it was ready to approve the sale of other lab-grown meat, stating that it was “engaged in discussions with multiple firms,” including companies growing seafood.
While Singapore was the first country to approve lab grown meat, US approval could open the floodgates for major global markets. “The US is the first meaningful market that has approved this - this is seismic and groundbreaking,” says Costa Yiannoulis, managing partner food tech VC Synthesis Capital.
What's particularly compelling about lab grown meat is not just its environmentally friendly nature, but the fact that it's apparently indistinguishable from conventionally raised meat (unlike plant-based meats, which have begun falling out of favor with consumers).
The million dollar question, of course, is: how will consumers respond?! It doesn't matter that billions have been invested into the space if the average grocery shopper is weirded out by the product. My guess? If it can beat traditional meat on price - it'll revolutionize the industry to a far, far greater extent than the Impossibles and Beyond Meats of the world.