Will Lab-Grown Beef Save the Planet?

Lab-Grown Beef Will Save the Planet—and Be a Billion-Dollar Business

Memphis Meats’s lab-grown meatball was prepared with “traditional Italian seasoning” and fried in a pan. At $18,000 a pound, the meat produced by Memphis Meats probably won’t be on your table any time soon. But many big-name investors are eyeing lab-grown meat, or “cultured meat” as it’s referred to in the field, as not just a solution for some of humankind’s biggest problems, but as a profitable business. Memphis Meats On January 31, the team behind a young biotech startup gathered around what may be the world’s most expensive meatball and got ready to take a bite of their product—real, edible beef from a lab, not a cow—for the first time. At $18,000 a pound, the meat produced by Memphis Meats probably won’t be on your table anytime soon. But in a few years, it might change the world. The startup and its investors watched as a professional chef rolled the meatball, preparing it with “traditional Italian seasoning,” and then dropped it into a sauté pan to sizzle. The company’s first choice for an independent taster canceled at the last minute, so Stephanie, a friend of a friend of an employee, stepped in. In a video of the event, Stephanie is shown gamely poking the meatball, then taking a bite. “Tastes like meat. It’s a meatball,” she says, looking a bit confused, as if she might have missed the big reveal. “Can I have more?” Nicholas Genovese, one of the company’s founders, has been a vegetarian for years. When he first tried a morsel, he was smitten. “I really miss this,” he said. Another of the Memphis Meats co-founders, Dr. Uma Valeti, a cardiologist, traces the idea for the company to a birthday party he went to when he was 12, growing up in India. “In the front, there […]