Forget that chicken that crossed the road — a new chicken is in town. Or is it a chicken at all?
San Francisco-based tech start-up Memphis Meats has figured out how to make chicken and duck products without actually killing any animals. Instead, the company makes nuggets and tenders using self-reproducing cells, taken from live animals and grown in laboratory-based bioreactor tanks. They call it “clean meat.”
If you’re excited to try it, you’ll have to wait. Right now it costs $9,000 per pound – or about $1,100 for a single chicken tender. Memphis Meats says they expect it to be ready for commercial sale by 2021.
Chicken and duck are the most slaughtered animals by humans for food across the globe, and the average American eats about 90 pounds of poultry per year. Traditional livestock production has dramatic climate consequences, and for some, ethical concerns.
Memphis Meats aims to curb those impacts, but their products are currently created using fetal serum from unborn calves and chicks. The company plans to replace that with a plant-based solution soon.
Clean meat may even make a believer out of the largest traditional meat producers. Tyson Foods recently bought a 5 percent stake in “clean” beef company Beyond Meat.