Part 2: Everything you always wanted to know about Cultivated Meat - and beyond


Part 2: Everything you always wanted to know about Cultivated Meat - and beyond

9 February 2022
As an important piece in the puzzle of a sustainable food system, cultivated meat will enlarge consumers’ plates. Some may argue that cultivated meat is unnecessary as plant-based alternatives are already available, and under continuous development. However, It is likely that people will continue to eat meat, and that the dietary shift towards “less and better” meat products with a higher percentage of plant-based food might not progress as quickly as needed.

Read our detailed FAQ here.

Is cultivated meat truly ‘meat’? 

Yes, as long as cultivated meat has the same characteristics and nutritional value as conventional meat.  

Obviously, cultivated meat is derived from animal cells and it needs approval for consumption. The challenge is to make it as (or even more) nutritious as its conventional counterpart. Although companies claim on a regular basis that their products do have the same composition as conventional meat, they will need to prove this by publishing their data and accept independent analyses.  

What is the expected environmental impact of cultivated meat?

Compared to conventional meat production, cultivated meat has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce land and water use. While plant-based food had the lowest environmental impact, cultivated meat produced with renewable energy reduced environmental impact by 93% compared to beef, by 53% compared to pork, and by 29% compared to poultry. 

If there is no conventional meat production, what about grasslands and the valorization of plant-based by-products? Will rural landscapes be empty? And will traditional breeds get extinct? 

The concept of cultivated meat only affects the slaughter of animals, not the use of them. It is perfectly possible to develop a model where animals have an ecological purpose and fulfill a function of living cell stocks at the same time. Moreover, with the rise of cultivated meat, the focus might shift from high productivity (leading to physical anomalies in animals) to breeding that is more diverse and humane. 

Is cultivated meat GMO or GMO-free?

It can be both. Especially in Europe, companies aim consciously for non-GMO cultivated meat − according to their communication on symposia, in the media, and to us directly. However, based on information from patent applications, we may assume that this might be different in other continents over time.

Is cultivated meat beneficial for public health? 

Yes, cultivated meat offers an opportunity to decrease antibiotic use and the occurrence of zoonoses dramatically. Cultivated meat is potentially safer than its conventional counterpart.  

You can read Part 1 of our Q&A series here and for more details, you can read our FAQ here.