A Bay Area-based startup called Memphis Meats has figured out how to make a real meatball in the lab using beef cells, no livestock required.
At a demo day for the IndieBio accelerator program in February, Memphis Meats cofounder and CEO Uma Valeti laid out the three main problems he sees with today’s meat industry: the demand for meat is growing faster than we can keep up with it, there are looming health risks like E.Coli and antibiotic resistance, and it takes takes 23 calories of grain to make one calorie of beef – an unsustainable amount.
Memphis Meats claims it requires just three calories of energy input for one calorie of energy output. Take a look at the difference in antibiotic and bacteria contamination of Memphis Meats cuts of pork and beef compared to organic meat bought from the grocery store.
No one making lab-grown meat, including Memphis Meats, has gotten around the fact that they need to use fetal bovine serum, which comes from unborn calves, to start the cell culture process.
Still, scaling up will be the main hurdle for Memphis Meats.
Post has said he thinks it will be up to 30 years before lab-grown meat is commercially viable, but Memphis Meats clearly doesn’t plan to wait that long.