No chickens or ducks were slaughtered to make this meat

Monday, 20 March, 2017

No chickens or ducks were slaughtered to make this meat

While very popular as a protein source, chicken and duck production is pretty tough on the environment. Couple this with growing consumer queasiness about animal welfare and food safety concerns and the environment is perfect for the development of the ‘clean’ meat movement.

Consumers are spending over US$750 billion per year on meat, and this is expected to grow substantially in coming years. Chicken is the most popular protein source in the US where consumers each eat around 40 kg/year, creating an industry worth US$90 billion/year. While in mainland China duck rules the roost. The Chinese population goes through 2.7 billion kg of duck each year, more than the rest of the world combined.

But is this level of production sustainable? The environmental impact of raising animals for food is massive and many consumers would prefer protein that is more humanely acquired.

Enter San Francisco-based Memphis Meats. This company has developed both duck and chicken meat that is grown directly from poultry cells without involving raising any animals at all. By producing meat directly from animal cells, the need to feed, breed and slaughter animals will be obviated.

Not only will this be a much more humane way to provide protein to consumers, it has been estimated that this method of production will result in up to 90% less land and water needed and 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, land and water than conventionally produced meat.

The company is building a technological platform to produce new clean meat products and accelerate clean meat innovation. The multianimal platform will allow Memphis Meats to produce many types of meat and to even control and modify the taste, texture and nutrition profile of its products.

The platform will also enable the company to scale up production and rapidly reduce costs.

Southern fried chicken. Image courtesy Memphis Meats.

“It is thrilling to introduce the first chicken and duck that didn’t require raising animals. This is a historic moment for the clean meat movement,” explained Uma Valeti, MD, co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats.

“Chicken and duck are at the centre 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. It is also inefficient. 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.”

It is hoped the chicken and duck products will be ready for the marketplace by 2021.

Top image: Duck l’orange. Courtesy Memphis Meats.

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