Only a couple of years ago news of a fully lab-grown burger had us asking ourselves if we’d eat meat from a test tube? But at more than $250,000 US a burger, fries with that would be out of the question. However in a recent interview with inventor Mark Post, he suggests the price of a lab burger has dropped to as little as $12 US. But don’t head for the drive-through yet. McDonald’s mass production magic wand is still needed to scale up the process. Commercial production of lab burgers could still be decades away.
There are factors in its favour (flavour is not one of them right now). Meat is an expensive product with a heavy environmental toll and developed countries eat a lot of it. Each year worldwide consumption is also rising rapidly as more and more as developing countries climb out of poverty.
Apart from the ethics of eating animals and the cruelties they suffer in feedlots the facts are meat production is unsustainable. The small ecological footprint may yet see lab burgers roaming free on our menus in the future.