Skip to main content
Move the World.

Inside the World of Gourmet Lab Meat

A future of eating meat without ethical or environmental implications is more real than ever before. While plant-based alternatives are growing in popularity, the real black horse with game-changing potential seems to be actual meat… grown in science labs.

Quick Facts

Meat, aquaculture, dairy, and eggs provide 37% of our protein and 18% of our calories, but use 83% of the world's farmland and 60% of its emissions.
Science Magazine

The question at this point is not whether this approach is viable or scalable, but simply: will people want to eat it? After speaking with some of the food creators on the frontier of this movement and getting a taste of the future, the answer is almost certainly yes.

Despite the impacts, people don’t seem to be slowing down on meat eating. So how can we get our carnivorous fix without killing the planet? To find out, we talked to Nicole Manu, Staff Council at the Good Food Institute, an industry advocacy group working through the regulatory and marketing challenges that stand in the way of alternative meat production. According to Nicole, getting the price down is one major factor. But more importantly, we need to make sure that lab meat tastes the same as real meat. Fortunately, it does.

"Cell-based meat solves this problem because it does taste like animal meat, because that’s exactly what it is.”

Nicole Manu , Good Food Institute

Outside of taste, another barrier is perception. People have a negative reaction when associating supper and science experiments. The folks over at Space 10, an IKEA-backed research lab in Denmark, are addressing this problem head on by cooking up ideas on what the future of food could look like. By designing and marketing gourmet foods using lab-made, sustainable ingredients, they believe they can change the perception that lab grown meat and other foods are not appetizing.

Space 10 is looking to lab foods as a solution for the future. Much of their effort goes into normalizing lab grown meat and other foods for the everyday consumer.
Space 10 is looking to lab foods as a solution for the future. Much of their effort goes into normalizing lab grown meat and other foods for the everyday consumer.

Simon Casperson, the Communications Director at Space10, was skeptical of lab grown meat himself at first. But then he learned more about the current meat production industry and quickly realized that the way things work now is far from natural.

"In the beginning I was the one that was saying, guys--this is definitely fucking dystopian."

Simon Casperson , Lab 10

Now a believer, Simon and his team are trying to create a perception that lab food can be beautiful, delicious, and normal. They’re doing this by experimenting in the lab with sustainable ingredients to create new exciting foods and designing cookbooks featuring what they believe could be the future.

In Future Food Today, you can find small bites and drinks made from crickets, worms and other fun sustainable ingredients.
In Future Food Today, you can find small bites and drinks made from crickets, worms and other fun sustainable ingredients.

Their latest production is a cookbook called Future Food Today, which makes futuristic and non-traditional ingredients look beautiful and like something people will want to eat. Showcasing algae-based hot dog buns and insect-forward tacos, Space 10 strives not to hide what people see as gross, but rather to shine a spotlight upon it and start a conversation.

Lab 10 realizes a cookbook won’t change the world on its own. But they seemed to have found an innovative channel for getting their important research out in a digestible (heh) way. By engaging with chefs and foodies around the world, making futuristic food feel more normal, they are taking big steps to push our food system forward. Read more about that in our latest article on cell-based chefs, where we sat down with a few top chefs around the country, aspiring to bring lab meat to fine dining.

Up Next

Having fun in Copenhagen? Stick around. We also visited our friends at AquaBounty and learned how GMO salmon could be coming to your local supermarket this year. What does that mean for the future of food?

Let's go steady.

More About

Future of Food
A Look Inside Farms of the Future
A Look Inside Farms of the Future
Watch Now
Future of Food
A Look Inside Farms of the Future
With a growing population, changing consumption behavior and a climate crisis, how will we feed our future world? The answer…
Watch Now

With a growing population, changing consumption behavior and a climate crisis, how will we feed our future world? The answer may not be increasing resources--land, water, and employees--but rather improving production efficiency. The key question: How do we increase the amount of food we produce while using the same or fewer resources? In the first episode of our original series, Future of Food, we take a look at sustainable agriculture.…

Future Forward
Reversing Extinction for the Northern White Rhino
Reversing Extinction for the Northern White Rhino
Watch Now
Future Forward
Reversing Extinction for the Northern White Rhino
The Northern white rhino is functionally extinct, meaning the two living females of the species are infertile. This scientist from the San Diego Zoo may have the solution to save the last of this extinct species, by tapping into her frozen zoo.
Watch Now

The Northern White Rhino is functionally extinct - but scientists at the San Diego Zoo are launching an unprecedented effort to recreate the species and save it from extinction. The earth is undergoing an unprecedented wave of extinctions, with estimates that between 200 and 2,000 species go extinct every day. One on the brink is the Northern White Rhinoceros, which after waves of poaching only has two known members in…

Dispatches
Supercharging Photosynthesis Can Grow 40% More Food
Supercharging Photosynthesis Can Grow 40% More Food
Dispatches
Supercharging Photosynthesis Can Grow 40% More Food
We need a lot more calories to feed a growing world, and these scientists may have figured out how to…
By Amanda Cavanagh

We need a lot more calories to feed a growing world, and these scientists may have figured out how to get them.

Science
Growing Food with Seawater
Growing Food with Seawater
Watch Now
Science
Growing Food with Seawater
This designer invented a greenhouse that lets you grow food with seawater.
Watch Now

Water is in short supply in much of the world — but what if we use seawater? It’s been a dream for years, but now technology is making it possible. This new seawater greenhouse uses a clever cardboard design to distill fresh water from salt water cheaply and efficiently. It’s helping grow crops in Somaliland, and could help stop the water crisis in Africa and other parts of the world…

Dispatches
Neuroscience Has a Low-Tech Answer for a Good Night's Sleep
Neuroscience Has a Low-Tech Answer for a Good Night's Sleep
Dispatches
Neuroscience Has a Low-Tech Answer for a Good Night's Sleep
Neuroscientists say that we may be ignoring a basic fact that could defuse the "screen-time wars" between parents and kids.
By Adriana Galván

Neuroscientists say that we may be ignoring a basic fact that could defuse the "screen-time wars" between parents and kids.

Dispatches
Linking Genes to Depression Could Revolutionize Treatment
Linking Genes to Depression Could Revolutionize Treatment
Dispatches
Linking Genes to Depression Could Revolutionize Treatment
Saying something is “genetic” used to be a fatalistic diagnosis. But with modern medicine, it could be the key to…

Saying something is “genetic” used to be a fatalistic diagnosis. But with modern medicine, it could be the key to treatment.

Coded
Meet the Digital Bodyguard for Investigative Journalists
Meet the Digital Bodyguard for Investigative Journalists
Coded
Meet the Digital Bodyguard for Investigative Journalists
Smári McCarthy discusses his job protecting the work of journalists investigating organized crime and corruption
By Mike Riggs

Smári McCarthy discusses his job protecting the work of journalists investigating organized crime and corruption

The New Space Race
What Happens When Stuff Breaks in Space?
What Happens When Stuff Breaks in Space?
The New Space Race
What Happens When Stuff Breaks in Space?
Despite rigorous prep, astronauts often have to improvise when things go wrong in space. And a lot more duct tape…
By Mike Riggs

Despite rigorous prep, astronauts often have to improvise when things go wrong in space. And a lot more duct tape is involved than you may expect.

Science
The Future of Sports and Human Performance
The Future of Sports and Human Performance
Science
The Future of Sports and Human Performance
Unpacking the science behind human performance with The Sports Gene author David Epstein
By Mike Riggs

Unpacking the science behind human performance with The Sports Gene author David Epstein