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Earth Science Technology

Most People Would Give Lab-Grown Meat a Try, New Survey Reveals (sciencealert.com) 162

Clive Phillips and Matti Wilks report via ScienceAlert: In a recent survey, published this month in PLOS One, we investigated the views of people in the United States, a country with one of the largest appetites for meat and an equally large appetite for adopting new technologies. A total of 673 people responded to the survey, done online via Amazon Mechanical Turk, in which they were given information about in vitro meat (IVM) and asked questions about their attitudes to it. Although most people (65 percent), and particularly males, were willing to try IVM, only about a third said they would use it regularly or as a replacement for farmed meat. But many people were undecided: 26 percent were unsure if they would use it as a replacement for farmed meat and 31 percent unsure if they would eat it regularly. This suggests there is scope to persuade consumers that they should convert to IVM if a suitable product is available. As an indication of this potential, 53 percent said it was seen as preferable to soy substitutes. The biggest concerns were about IVM's taste and lack of appeal, particularly in the case of meats seen as healthy, such as fish and chicken, where only two-thirds of people that normally ate them said that they would if it was produced by in vitro methods. By contrast, 72 percent of people who normally eat beef and pig products would still do so if they were produced as IVM.

Most People Would Give Lab-Grown Meat a Try, New Survey Reveals

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    • Unfortunately the bad effects of eating such meat will likely not be known before years (cancers...).
      • by godel_56 ( 1287256 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @12:37AM (#54041567)

        Unfortunately the bad effects of eating such meat will likely not be known before years (cancers...).

        In the mean time I'll stick with good healthy hot dog meat.

        • Exactly. People don't understand that they already eat meat from animals injected with steroids, hormones, and antibiotics, raised in conditions full of filth and diseases. For those being afraid of cancer here is something to read if they have time: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... [nih.gov] Don't even try to convince someone on the internet that red meat is already a major contributor to various diseases, everyone has to do their own research. I will eat lab grown meat if the taste is ok and the price is right. I
      • So? We have been eating meat for thousands of years and it has always caused cancer [who.int]. What if the lab grown meat causes less cancer than real meat? Why do you assume it will cause more?

        • Why do you assume it will cause more?

          Because cancer is more likely triggered when human cells meet unnatural substances, or in an extraordinary concentration. The human body had millions of years to get used to natural elements in a given concentration. The lab-grown meat is welcome in both unnatural and "high concentration" categories.

        • ...based on limited evidence from epidemiological studies...

          epidemiological studies are pretty much worthless because of the many confounders. And by picking which confounders to remove, and which to keep, you can get any result you want.

  • by msauve ( 701917 )
    Kibo called it [kibo.com] almost 20 years ago.
  • I'm not eating it unless it gets slipped to me.

  • As long as it tastes good. And no being close enough or not to bad is not good enough. The disgusting bland tasting substitutes many in the vege community keep trying to say taste just as good have their taste buds in their arse as far as I am concerned. grow me something that tastes as good and I will happily eat that instead whether it is plant or lab grown.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      I would lean to genetically modified algae. Easy DNA to modify and with slick engineering, all sorts of foods can be grown, not processed. All grown in controlled environment delivered sealed with no contaminants and designed to be the best food it can be, correct roughage, balanced sugars and proteins, zero allergens, trace elements and all sorts of tastes and textures genetically programmed in. Forget soylent green, think a nice thick plate size broadleaf, ready to be grilled, fresh out of the water. How

    • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @10:34PM (#54041209)
      Personally I think attempting to substitute vegetarian things for specific meat items is a mistake that will usually result in disappointment. Instead of attempting vegetarian hot dogs I think it's better to just have a vegetarian curry that does not pretend to be anything other than what it is if meat cannot be on the menu. Chunks of tofu disappoint is they are pretending to be chicken, but if they are fried and coated with sweet chilli they are something most people will like (while not resembling meat in any way).
      As for vat grown meat, I agree, so long as it tastes good, but it may have to be served differently just like there's some things very lean meat doesn't work in and others that very fatty meat doesn't work in. For example Kangaroo is not something that can just be cooked up like a beef steak and taste good, it's far too lean, it's better in something like a Rendang curry. Muscle is very complicated so don't expect something like beef or pork.
      An interesting thing is how the vegetarian community have embraced quorn, a highly processed food made from vat grown fungus (crumbed and fried it's nice, but once again treating it like meat is likely to dissappoint). I don't know how many vegetarians avoid meat due to dislike of farm practices but those people are likely to be early adopters of vat grown meat.

      have their taste buds in their arse as far as I am concerned

      When it comes down to it familiar, convenient and bland is what most people eat IMHO, myself included from time to time. If you are going to use totally different ingredients I think trying to get them to taste like something else is a mistake but I'm just a guy who likes some vegetarian food every now and again instead of someone who lives off the stuff. Maybe someone who is a full vegetarian who craves meat gets some joy out of tasteless soy chunks in an imitation of a beef stew, but I'd rather have a minestrone (or something else devised without even thinking of meat) if meat is not on the menu.

      • the problem with vegetarian curry etc (while very tasty and something I do regularly have) is it doesn't actually satisfy the desire/craving many of us have for a juicy steak or roast leg of lamb or other meat dish which is also why they all try to emulate the taste of meat (badly). Until an offering actually addresses that craving then Meat will continue to be a food of choice for many, myself included.
        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          When meat is not available (hiking or whatever), fried stuff can be a good distraction from that meat craving.
          However I've never been vegetarian so haven't gone without eating meat for more than a couple of weeks.
        • What really works for my vegetarian friends are mushrooms. They give that meaty, filling, umami sensation that meat has. Will it taste exactly like a juicy steak? No, but fried mushrooms are pretty damn awesome in their own way.

          • Actually I find fried mushroom is the perfect Steak Accompaniment! I even grow my own, while delicious they are still no substitute for high quality meat (which coming from a farming background I have access to, not the shit you get in the supermarket).
    • As long as it tastes good. And no being close enough or not to bad is not good enough.

      Perhaps a prophecy, from Better Off Ted [wikipedia.org], season 1, episode 2, Heroes [wikia.com] about lab-grown meat:

      • Jerome: It tastes familiar
      • Ted: Beef?
      • Jerome: No
      • Linda: Chicken? We’ll take chicken.
      • Jerome: [Shakes head.]
      • Ted: What does it taste like?
      • Jerome: Despair. [youtube.com]
      • Ted: Is it possible it just needs salt?
    • Taste isn't all there is to meat. Meat also contains many different nutrients, which could be easily lacking from artificial products. Vitamin B12 is a prime example, but meat has many different nutrients, some of which we may not even have identified as such.

    • Yeah, animals should go fuck themselves. They should suffer and die so that you don't have to make any concessions to your lifestyle.
  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @09:36PM (#54041005)
    why not? i am sure the "gmo = scary" crowd will be against.
  • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @09:49PM (#54041061)
    eating at Mac Donald's
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kellamity ( 4286097 )
      If you are willing to consume a McNugget, you should be happy to eat actual meat, not matter how it's produced!
      • I am not willing to eat a mcnugget. for some reason I love hamburger (ground beef) but the idea of even ground chicken let alone chicken paste just turns my stomach. If this IVM meat is like actual unprocessed meat I'll eat that stuff morning noon and night. If it has the consistency of a mcnugget, not a chance.
  • "This suggests there is scope to persuade consumers that they should convert to IVM if a suitable product is available. As an indication of this potential, 53 percent said it was seen as preferable to soy substitutes"

    Would Vegans eat it? Vegetarians? I find this interesting.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      For vegetarians, it would depend how the original cells were harvested.

      For vegans, they probably wouldn't eat it at all.

  • is this spam about spam?

  • I would have no problem eating lab grown meat, at least once for the experience.
    However, I've seen reports referring to it as tasteless. I don't want that.

    One thing I don't like about "artificial" food is how boring it is : one brand, one taste, no variation. There are plenty of things going on in living things, all these little things are what give natural products their rich flavor. The more you standardize things, the less you give life a chance to make you something exceptional, and lab grown meat is an

    • Got it in one. Yes, most people would *try* it. However, it's unlikely to taste remotely as good as the real thing -- what artificial food *does*? -- and so I highly doubt that most people would end up eating it regularly.
  • I'd definitely give it a shot.

    / Daughter went vegan at 20
    // Still lived with us
    /// One day found a boca burger in the fridge
    //// It wasn't bad
    ///// I'll never be vegan
    • /// One day found a boca burger in the fridge //// It wasn't bad

      You got lucky. Boca burgers are some of the best meatless burgers. Gardenburgers taste like someone put some Stove Top stuffing on a bun, except it's not as good as Stove Top.

      • They've got decent spicy blackbean vegetarian burgers at certain Costcos that compare favorably to Boca Burgers; they contain egg (and corn, unfortunately) but no soy or gluten... They've also carry non-spicy vegan ones w/out egg but with wheat in 'em... the brand is "Don Lee Farms" and I couldn't find 'em at an OH or CT Costco but they've got 'em here in Colorado Costcos.
      • Boca burgers are some of the best meatless burgers.

        Sure, in the same way that melanoma is one of the best cancers.

    • What's with the slashes? I thought maybe that was your post style but I see no other examples in your recent posts. I am just curious.
  • This would be a good way to make protein accessible to more of the world without the large environmental footprint that herding meat animals comes with. They'd have to do some testing to replicate different parts of the animal though. Lean, tender proteins like fillet steak, fatty collagen rich analogs for ribs etc.
  • This is so dumb. They needed a study for this? And then, when they do the study they target "particularly males". This is how "bad science" is done.
    You know how to do GOOD f'ing science? Get your IVM meat done, do it right, and make it taste and cook like Filet Mignon. Everyone will eat it. No one will care that it is grown in a lab. All the nonsense "studies" and whatnot UNTIL then only prove your IVM meat sucks. Nobody with 23 braincells to rub together would REFUSE to eat "meat" comparable to Filet. This

    • by aXis100 ( 690904 )

      You'd think that people would love superior GMO crops that have higher yeild and lower pesticides, but it turns out that we were wrong. Public perception and uninformed opinion unfortunately have a big influence. Once smear campaign might make all the difference on someone buying it or not.

  • For years now, pop culture has been pushing the idea of vat grown meat through television and movies, trying to normalize it. The other prong is climate change hysteria, pushing the idea that we need to get rid of our cattle herds and battery chicken to save the planet or something.

    Now that public acceptance is where it needs to be, investors will see that returns are there to be had, expect research to really take off. The only problem left is taste. Still a long way to go in that department, as shown b

  • by uncqual ( 836337 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @11:12PM (#54041313)

    There's little reason not to try it if you like meat. The decision to consume it regularly would be based on price and quality. The quality could, eventually, be much higher (and the environmental impact much lower) than hoof grown meat.

    A blob of meat grown in a vat has no intrinsic need for tendons, bones, silverskin and big chunks of fat -- none of which I want in a steak (but, lab grown bacon better have a lot of fat in it in chunks!). As well, if done right, imagine how perfect the marbling could be!

    However, I'm not holding my breath because I'm picky about texture. For example, I refuse to eat, except when I have no options, "press formed" turkey and think the package of meat in the grocery should be required to have a term like "Press Formed" in letters at least as large as the largest used for the word "Turkey" within two font sizes away and that every use of the word "Turkey" should be preceded by the term "Press Formed" (or whatever word the FDA picks to describe this abomination that is sold as "turkey").

    Those blobs of meat in the vat better get good exercise to make the texture correct (the good news is that they probably only need to be exercised during the day so solar panels can power the electrodes).

    • A blob of meat grown in a vat has no intrinsic need for tendons, bones, silverskin and big chunks of fat

      Which could be a problem, because those parts of the animal have specific nutritional benefits, such as high glycine content.

  • At the junction of when lab grown beef becomes economically viable and beef finally getting and environmental tax will be the be the beginning of the end. Lab grown meat will begin eating a chunk of the profits of the cattle industry which will be a feedback loop that will destroy the cattle industry as we know it. They won't disappear but they will have a minority share of the market.

  • These studies have such a small sample size yet claim "Most people would...".
    The Survey Size seems a bit small to be making these sort of claims.

    Their Data is fine, but it probably doesn't reflect much in terms of the real world
  • by godel_56 ( 1287256 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @12:45AM (#54041593)

    What do they use as a feed stock to grow the stuff in the vats? How does the energy profile of the final food compare with meat from living animals?

    I've sometimes wondered the same about hydroponically grown vegetables.

    • What do they use as a feed stock to grow the stuff in the vats?

      Well, with the plan obviously being to shove self-driving cars down our throats long before they're ready, my guess would be... drivers?

  • The meat is, presumably, muscle tissue. Tissue that lays in a petri dish or bobbles along a conveyor belt in a big factory. Unless this muscle is used, made to do work against a substantial resistance, it seems likely that it will never form the fibers, the texture that we associate with animal meat. I imagine a texture like liver or perhaps a viscous fluid or an oatmeal consistency.

    OTOH, I also imagine that it might have a very exotic flavor. Human teeth will be replaced by a round sucking mouth (like on a

  • I'm interested in the consequences this will have on the human immune system the same way I wonder if factory farming is having a deleterious effect on human health.

    For context it seems current arguments revolve around the ethical treatment of animals. However since we're been eating meat since before we were homo sapiens I wonder if there is a mechanism inside the immune system that derives some of its immune response information from the food we eat? That by eating suffering sick animals we also ingest t

  • People always say stuff they don't mean. If it's cheap enough, they'll buy it. It's like fast food, sausages etc. It's full of all sorts of shit. But some people enjoy eating it, and it's cheap. Give 'em no other affordable choice and you'll get a different answer.

  • Given how it was with sugar, flour etc.. i would bet that it will get to a point where the engineered meat will probably surpass the real deal in taste, as it will be made to be tasty instead of moving cows.
    Now if it will be any healthy, it's a great question, but i bet on no.

  • How much would it cost?
    IF it cost about the same OR less AND the enviornmental impact was less THEN
    I might consider it. Especially if I could grow it myself.

    • Way too early to know that. Right now it would probably cost you a year's salary to have a meal made of IVM meat. The only way it becomes mainstream is if A. it's comparable to regular meat in price or B. regular meat supply becomes severely compromised.
  • When water rains down on a mountain top, drips over a few miles of mountain rock and moss, floods fields in which tomato plants grow, then I know why the tomatoes are nutritious -- plants are really good at eating soil, and in that case, they'll pick up all of the minerals and dead animals on those rocks.

    When cows spend all day, every day, eating and chewing grass, then I know why the beef is nutritious -- the cow uses three stomachs and a few million chews to extract the nutrition in the grass.

    I'm not eati

  • Molly and Armitage ate in silence, while Case sawed shakily at his steak, reducing it to uneaten bite-sized fragments, which he pushed around in the rich sauce, finally abandoning the whole thing. `Jesus,' Molly said, her own plate empty, `gimme that. You know what this costs?' She took his plate. `They gotta raise a whole animal for years and then they kill it. This isn't vat stuff.' She forked a mouthful up and chewed.

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