Lab grown food is an exciting idea for the future for some, but it’s not all good news.
Many advocates for expanding lab grown food research say it is good for human health, the environment, and animals.
But in this article, you’ll learn why lab grown food shouldn’t, and probably won’t, replace real food.
Lab grown food, is food made out of lab grown cells, such as bacteria.
Usually, the goal of the food, is to imitate some food item we already have.
For example, one of the first lab grown foods to make its debut, was a lab grown hamburger from the Netherlands in 2013.
In this example, the food was made from stem cells taken from cows.
Fans of the idea of lab grown food, say that it’s an environmentally friendly alternative to our current agriculture practices.
But while it’s true, that lab grown food could save a lot of land, it actually requires more energy for production than agriculture does.
Plus, cleanliness and safety practices are huge considerations in labs.
So, to avoid contamination many tools are disposable and plastic.
In lab grown food research specifically, the bioreactors, or containers that hold the cells, can only be used once and are made from plastic.
Companies would need to use 15,000 of those bioreactors, in order to match just 0.1% of the current meat market, according to an estimate from one researcher in the industry.
It’s an expensive environmental disaster in the making.
Supporters of artificial food, also like to point out that it could end our current “inhumane” animal practices.
But as of now, and in the foreseeable future, lab grown meat cannot be grown without animals.
Once large companies take over mass production, who’s to say we won’t end up with the same treatment of animals we have now?
Finally, another supposed advantage of artificial food, is its health benefits.
Advocates for it, believe it could be tailored for specific nutritional benefits, and have those qualities enhanced.
But long-term health effects take a long time to study, and even longer to prove.
Also, we already know a lot of large companies aren’t good at truthfully representing the nutritional value of their food.
So, when it comes to lab grown food, we could easily be misled about the true health benefits of what we’re eating.
Plus, even if those benefits do turn out to be true, the market expectations for it isn’t realistic.
For one thing, most people aren’t even on board with plant-based alternatives to meat.
One survey found that, 52% of respondents would never even try it!
If people won’t even eat substitutes made with the natural food we already have, why would we expect them to make the leap to a new, unnatural food?
And research supports this.
In the same survey, less than 25% of people, said they think lab grown food has a place in the food industry.
Plus, current food trends are shifting away from processed foods, moving toward organic, natural options.
In fact, organic food demand is outgrowing the supply!
Not to mention how expensive lab food is!
That artificial burger from earlier?
It cost about $330,000 to produce.
So, lots of technology, still needs to improve before lab grown food is affordable enough for most households.
Plus, how can we upend the $1 trillion food industry we already have?
For one thing, where will all the domesticated animals that we raise for food go?
We’ve been breeding cows to be reliant on us for thousands of years, so chances are they won’t be able to survive without us.
Plus, it’ll put 1.8 million small farms out of business!
And small labs for artificial food is not likely, considering the high level of tech and financial capital needed to grow food in a lab.
As you can see, it’s not realistic that lab grown food will replace real food any time soon.
And even with the kinks worked out, we probably shouldn’t even let it come close.
Luckily, the agriculture industry is constantly looking for more sustainable ways to grow real, fresh food.
Just look at Pure Greens Container Farms for an example!
If you want to learn more about the future of the agriculture industry, check out our website or call 602-753-3469.