Clean Meat And Cost-Competiveness
Cultured meat is grown in artificial environments instead of coming from an animal, and it has the potential to replace conventional meat, decreasing both animal abuse in farms and animal consumption in general. But in order for cultured meat to be accessible to the public, it must be sold at around the same prices we currently pay for conventional meat, and become “cost-competitive.” If we could predict how long it would take for cultured meat to become cost-competitive, animal supporters could gain an opportunity to plan their advocacy efforts accordingly.
Published by the Animal Charity Evaluators, this study provides timelines for various scales of cultured meat to reach cost-competitiveness. It compiles existing timelines from informed sources and then evaluates their reliability. Finally, the study offers its own predictions, which account for weaknesses of existing ones. Through this article, animal advocates can gain a better understanding of how close or distant we are from being able to purchase cultured meat from local markets.
There is a general agreement that cultured alternatives to acellular animal products, such as dairy foods, egg whites, and gelatin, would become cost-competitive in less than one year to 5 years. In contrast, culturing ground meat is more challenging since it consists of many millions of muscle cells. Industry leaders such as Mark Post and Peter Verstate expect that cultured ground meat will become cost-competitive by approximately 2020-2025. Other informed sources outside the industry, such as scientists, have made not too far-off estimates of 2025-2030. This indicates that cultured ground meat could become available in retailers in not too distant a future.
It would take still longer for cultured whole pieces of muscle tissue (alternatives to steaks, breasts, wings, livers, etc.) to become cost-competitive. That said, at least several companies have made hopeful predictions. Integriculture has hinted that by year 2019, it would produce cost-competitive cultured foie gras. It is also very likely that ongoing advances in cellular agriculture will shorten estimated timelines.
The study notes that although the timelines it has compiled have a certain degree of uncertainty, there is little reason to think cultured meat industry leaders are being overly optimistic since they are “very informed” on this topic. The article also proposes its own timelines and probabilities, at increments of 5, 10, and 20 years. They suggest that a cellular animal products have a probability of meeting these timelines at 15, 40, and 75% respectively; ground meat products at 7.5, 20, and 55% respectively; and whole pieces of muscle tissue at 1, 5, and 10% respectively.
This article is informative for animal advocates because it suggests that cultured meat may soon replace at least some of the animal products that people consume daily. It appears that certain cultured animal products will become accessible to the public in 10-20 years, if not sooner. The estimated timelines are significant because the nearness of cultured meat’s arrival could lead to more media coverage and investments. These, combined with consumers’ greater interest in cultured meat, are sure to accelerate advances in this field, helping protect more animals.