The first artificial meat factory has just opened in the United States

Dubbed Upside Foods, the very first artificial meat factory opened this week in the United States. Goal ? Grow 23 tonnes of real fake meat per year, and prove that laboratory culture is a viable industry.

At a time when animal husbandry is responsible for 14.5% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, the cultivation of artificial meat is emerging as a increasingly viable solution for the planet. The margins of Beyond Meat, Impossible Food ou Planted, who want to reduce our consumption of animal meat with plant substitutes, some start-ups are now interested in 3D printing of real meat in the laboratory. Unlike vegetarian alternatives, this solution is based on the culture of animal stem cells, from which it would be possible to recreate real pieces of meat that are larger than life.

Already experimented with by several companies, such as the Israelis of Future Meat or a team of Japanese researchers, which recently managed to print un steak de bœuf Wagyu, the 3D meat printing process is now on an industrial scale: Upside Foods is indeed the first company in the world to have opened a factory entirely dedicated to artificial meat in the United States. Spread over nearly 5,000 m², the company opened its doors on November 4 in California, and now aims to produce 23 tonnes of fake meat per year. In the long term, Upside Foods hopes to achieve the 180 tons per year, and so overtake Future Meat, which has already taken it to the next level. An ambitious project, but which will be far from sufficient to provide for the 1.55 million tonnes of meat consumed each year in France alone.

Price and ethics?

Initiated in 2013 in London, the first artificial steak cost more than € 285,000 to develop. Today, research makes it possible to drastically reduce production costs: 110 grams of Future Meat fake chicken breast would only cost $ 4, barely four times more expensive than classic chicken. Upside Foods’ first challenge will therefore be to succeed in aligning itself with an increasingly competitive market, in order to attract a public reluctant to make efforts on the price of its food. Accused of being poor in nutrients and taste (because it is mainly composed of muscle cells), 3D meat is still struggling to convince.

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