“Farm to table is so 2020….”
The year is 2025. A new type of restaurant has taken root in hip neighborhoods populated by Gen Z professionals born in the late-90s and early-2000s. Unlike the farm to table joints of yesteryear boasting chalkboards covered in the names of small family cattle farms and fisheries, this new crop of eateries offers diners new information about their burgers and smoked salmon toast: the names of labs, regulatory certifications, and the amount CO2 and water saved per dish by using no animals at all.
It’s strange to imagine a world of meat without animals and food without farms (farms with barns, tractors, and fields that is) but it may be closer than we think. As millenial and baby boomer consumers continue to shell out billions for meat labeled organic and free-range, it’s worth asking: will Gen Z lead the lab-grown meat revolution?
What is Lab-Grown Meat?
While lab-grown meat sounds icky at best and like something out of a horror sci-fi novel at worst, the concept is fairly straightforward. Lab-grown meat (also known as “clean meat” or cell-based meat) is just that — meat that is grown in a lab. Researchers have isolated stem-cells in animals that make up the parts that we eat. By replicating these stem-cells in a lab (think: literally growing them in a petri dish) researchers can create a shrimp, chicken breast, or even a beautiful slab of Texas rib-eye. The process is a bit more complicated than that of course, but increasingly, investors are pouring money into lab-based meat and seafood startups like MosaMeat, Memphis Meats, Finless Foods and Wild Type. So far venture capital investors are the ones supporting the development of these new-age meats and many of their investments rest on a critical question: will Gen Z buy this stuff?
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