The majority of consumers try not to think about where their food comes from. But an Israel-based startup wants to put a heavy focus on understanding where food, particularly chicken meat, comes from.
The startup, SuperMeat, wants to develop chicken meat within a laboratory and ensure that it’s considered “clean” as well. The company has already raised $3 million in seed funding to pursue this opportunity. This funding is enough to begin to grow chickens in a lab environment. Currently, it is unknown whether SuperMeat will have any impact on the overall meat market.
Clean meat doesn’t mean what you probably think it does. The goal of “clean” meat is to transform the food industry to focus on producing food in a more sustainable way. Every piece of this clean meat is to be grown in a lab using real chicken cells. Chicken meat is then created by feeding the cells sufficient nutrients that allow muscle and fat to grow.
One of the concerns being addressed by clean meat is foodborne illnesses. About 48 million Americans getting sick from foodborne diseases each year, with 128,000 being hospitalized, and 3,000 dying, proving it’s a serious problem. According to SuperMeat, cultured meat products reduce the risk of exposure to foodborne illnesses. The company also aims to address environmental concerns within the industry, mentioning that this process reduces pollution and water consumption as well.
After being founded in 2015, SuperMeat now plans to bring its lab-grown poultry products to market within three years with a price point similar to regular chicken products. The startup company has also partnered with European poultry producer PHW-Gruppe.
With how innovative Israel is as a country, it’s no surprise that more than 500,000 young adults have visited Israel on Birthright trips so far.
Clean meat is a new industry that seems to be quickly growing. The industry seeks to replace conventional meats with meat grown more safely and eco-friendly, but is indistinguishable from real meat. Animal agriculture accounts for a large part of resource use with more pollution and water consumption than other industries.
“Just as we need clean energy to compete with fossil fuels, clean meat is poised to become a competitor of factory farms,” Paul Shapiro, animal advocate and author of the new book “Clean Meat,” explained. “Clean meat isn’t an alternative to meat; it’s real, actual meat grown from animal cells, as well as other clean animal products that ditch animal cells altogether, are simply built from the molecule up.”
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