I’ve covered this-ish a few times before. The most popular posts were the brainless chickens art project, and the (very real) food printing research being conducted at Cornell University in upstate NY. And you can see all my posts on printed food, here.
OK, so, yes thanks much for the article - “Steak of the Art: The Fatal Flaws of In Vitro Meat.” The author, Christina Agapakis, is an artist with a PhD in biology. She has no business experience and most of her life was spent in school. Here’s her CV.
Her background matters because her article “Steak of the Art" speculates about the production problems of bringing printed meat to the market. She explains that the engineering processes are expensive, that the volume of genetic material needed is huge, and, inexplicably / incongruously swerves to discuss feeding cattle algae.
Her point is that lab-grown meat production could never be made efficient enough to compete with cattle meat. To support this, she points to the cost of the first batch of In Vitro meat, which was about $330,000 USD. Then she speculates that this is a lot of money. I would love to ask her her thoughts on how much she thinks running a 1,000 head ranch costs - not only in terms of owning and managing the property and animals proper, but the costs to the environment, governments, and human health as well.
She’s a smart scientist, but she has no business sense. Marketing a new product such as this would cost millions.
And guess what? Modern Meadow was given a $300,000 grant to start-up a business to sell printed meat - a much more efficient process than In Vitro. Far, far less than Dr. Agapakis uninformed guess.
I don’t have a problem with lab-grown meat. I’m just not falling for the hype. I’m sure glad people are talking about it. And I would love love love to read the ethical arguments for and against eating this stuff.
As for market viability? I have experience with managing budgets, running businesses, and analyzing environmental policy: there’s no way that a bio-meat would or could displace beef. The backlash from the ag-lobby would astonish even the most hardened politician. Not to mention the hokey ‘nostalgia’ people have for cows, cattle ranching, cowboys, and farmers. Impossible to displace these powerful, established, and frankly fine forces.
It’ll just be a niche product - probably for the ultra-ethical and adventurous types. So, don’t fall for the hype!