The Wall Street Journal went under the hood of the lab-grown meat industry, also known as cultured or cell-grown meat, and the struggles within it.
The Journal specifically took a look at what’s going on at UPSIDE Foods, which received a blessing from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding its process of making farm-raised chicken, essentially saying it was safe to eat and making it the first company to receive this approval. Eat Just, which has sold its product in Singapore, the first country to approve the sale of cultured meat, followed suit, receiving a “thumbs up” from the FDA in March.
The WSJ story pays particular attention to UPSIDE Foods’ success in making small batches of its chicken product, as well as its inability to produce large quantities of product at a low cost, or even at the same price as traditional meat – and to be honest, most cultured meat companies struggle with this as well.
“Initially, our chicken will be sold at a higher price,” UPSIDE founder and CEO Uma Valeti told MinRegion in November. “As we scale, we expect to eventually reach price parity with conventionally produced meat. Our goal is to ultimately be cheaper than conventionally produced meat.”
Companies in this sector make meat from animal cells that receive growth factors. However, the production and pricing challenges presented in the WSJ story are not new. “Is cell cultured meat ready for prime time?” was not just a MinRegion+ smart brain, but a legitimate question asked in early 2022 that still hasn’t really been answered.
Most of the cultured meat stories in our archives contain at least a sentence about how difficult it is for companies to mass-produce and create food in this way so that the final product costs less than $10 per pound.