What if consumers could enjoy eating meat, without contributing to the negative environmental effects of conventional livestock farming practices? Now, Silicon Valley-based food manufacturing company, Memphis Meats, has produced the world’s first “clean poultry” by growing chicken and duck cells outside the animals.
Chicken is an incredibly popular source of protein in the US, representing a $90 billion dollar a year industry. American consumers eat approximately 90 pounds of chicken per year.
While duck may not be as common in the US, it is more prevalent in other areas around the world, including mainland China. Consumers in the country eat over 6 billion pounds of duck per year.
“It is thrilling to introduce the first chicken and duck that didn’t require raising animals,” said Dr. Uma Valeti, co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats. “This is a historic moment for the clean meat movement.”
Using their own technological platform, their poultry was grown from cultured chicken and duck stem cells. According to Memphis Meats, their method will allow for the production of multiple different types of meat, with the ability to control taste, texture and nutritional content.
“Chicken and duck are at the center of the table in so many cultures around the world, but the way conventional poultry is raised creates huge problems for the environment, animal welfare, and human health,” continued Valeti. “It is also inefficient.”
As with most new technologies, the company’s operation is currently on the small side and the meat is expensive to grow. Still, Memphis Meats anticipates being able to scale-up the technology, while reducing costs, to meet their goal of launching their consumer meat products in 2021.
“We aim to produce meat in a better way, so that it is delicious, affordable and sustainable. We really believe this is a significant technological leap for humanity, and an incredible business opportunity—to transform a giant global industry while contributing to solving some of the most urgent sustainability issues of our time.”
In early 2016, Memphis Meats became the first to produce a meatball composed entirely of lab-grown beef. The global meat market is a $750 billion industry, which Memphis Meats hopes to tap into with its slaughter-free meats.