To grow cell cultured meat, a tiny sample of stem cells is first collected from the animal of choice and multiplied to millions of cells. The cells are then differentiated into meat cells with taste and texture that compares to traditional meat. Growth factors are essential for this process as they control proliferation and differentiation of stem cells.
The number of players in the cell cultured meat industry developing meat products for hungry costumers, is expanding exponentially. This surge in interest is driven by the projected shortfall in supply of meat, looming safety and environmental concerns associated with conventional meat, and increasing investments into cultured meat start-ups.
The demand for meat is growing very rapidly. By 2050, when the world's population will be close to 10 billion, we will need approximately 56% more food than we do now.
Cell Cultured Meat (CCM) will be key in solving the challenges posed by the increasing demand for meat. An incredible amount of meat can be produced from a small sample of animal stem cells. It is estimated that 10 thousand kilos (approx. 20 thousand pounds) of meat can be produced from a single stem cell from cattle’s muscle and that stem cells from as few as 150 cattle can provide enough meat to supply the world’s current annual meat consumption. Similarly, stem cells from single cattle provide meat for 175 million hamburgers, for which 440 thousand cattle would have to be slaughtered to produce enough traditional meat.
At the same time as we face increasing meat demands, we need to limit land-use as we currently are using 50% of the worlds vegetated land for meat production. CCM, even in its early stages, shows great merit over conventional meat:
CCM does not involve slaughtering of animals, as it uses only a small sample of animal muscle cells.
In comparison to conventionally produced meat, CCM uses 7-45% less energy, 90% less land, and 82-96% less water with 78-96% lower GHG emissions.
CCM opens the prospect for land reforestation and restoration of endangered species.
CCM offers an opportunity to change the composition of nutrients to make the meat healthier. For example, replacing harmful fats with healthy fats like omega 3, to help prevent heart diseases.