Easy, Eco-Friendly Finds for Everyone. Shop Brightly!

From Petri Dish to Plate: Cell-Based Meat Could Be Coming to a Supermarket Near You

The next wave of sustainable food products is being produced from animal cells—aka real meat minus the environmental impact. And this cultivated salmon, ribeye, and chicken could be coming to a supermarket near you.

cultivated meat coming to united states
Written by
Tehrene Firman
At this point, you’ve probably tried a
plant-based burger
so realistic that you could have sworn it was real beef. But consider that alt-meat 101. The industry is at the forefront of a major shift in the way we consume meat, because the next wave of products is being produced from animal cells—aka real meat minus the environmental impact. And it could be coming to a supermarket near you.
Cultivated meat, previously referred to as “
lab-grown meat
,” has been a hot topic in recent years for its potential to revolutionize the way we produce meat. It checks off many boxes—it's more sustainable, more ethical, and can even be healthier. Cultivated meat is already being sold in Singapore, with
’s chicken available at Huber’s Butchery. With
becoming the first company to receive a “no questions” letter from the Food and Drug Administration in
November 2022
followed by GOOD Meat in
March 2023
, cultivated meat is that much closer to being sold in the United States.
Photo: UPSIDE Foods
UPSIDE Foods was founded by Uma Valeti, a cardiologist who wanted to pave a more sustainable path forward for the meat industry by creating a chicken product grown directly from animal cells. Thanks to the green light from the FDA, that hard work is officially starting to pay off.
“We’re working with the USDA to complete the remaining regulatory steps,” says Brooke Whitney, senior communications associate at UPSIDE Foods. “Once those items are complete, we will be able to sell products in the United States for the first time. We will start by initially launching in restaurants, and then will eventually move to retail. Ultimately, we want our products to be available everywhere meat is sold.”
Although the idea of growing meat in a lab may have once seemed like science fiction, this recent breakthrough has made it a promising and feasible solution for sustainable meat production. But if you’re not exactly clear on what cultured meat is and how the process works, Whitney says that while it’s an innovative process, the end result is the familiar meat humanity has been eating for millennia.
“Rather than raising a whole chicken—with eyes, bones, and sentience—we instead grow only the meat that we want to eat directly from chicken cells,” Whitney says. “The process starts by taking a cell sample from a live chicken or fertilized egg, and extracting the cells that have the ability to grow into animal tissue or meat. From there, we put those cells into a large stainless steel tank called a cultivator that resembles beer brewing equipment.”

Reusable Bowl Covers

Get 15% off your order by using the code ECONEWS at checkout!
Shop All Food & Kitchen
From there, Whitney says they provide the cells with the nutrients they need to grow and multiply, such as amino acids, sugars, carbohydrates, vitamins, and more. “In essence, we try to recreate the conditions that naturally exist inside a chicken’s body,” she says. Then once the meat is ready to go, it’s removed from the cultivators and can be cooked up just any other meat product.
If the world made the switch to cultured meat, the environment would greatly benefit. Currently, animal agriculture is responsible for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, it uses 70% of agricultural land and is a major contributor to deforestation, water pollution, and biodiversity loss. “This is especially concerning when you take into account that the demand for meat is projected to double by 2050,” Whitney says. “It's clear that the current path we're on is unsustainable.”
The good news is the increased interest in cultured meat is only going to help. “At scale, cultivated meat has been projected to require up to 95% less land, 78% less water, 93% less air pollution, and emit up to 92% less greenhouse gases than conventionally-produced meat,” Whitney says. Add
Aleph Farms
' cultivated ribeye steak and
's cultivated salmon to the lineup, and the future is looking even brighter.
“Products like Wildtype’s
salmon saku
offer a new option for whole-cut seafood, free from contaminants like mercury, parasites, and antibiotics,” says Justin Kolbeck, co-founder and CEO at Wildtype. “It only takes 4 to 6 weeks to create Wildtype salmon (as opposed to two years for typical salmon farms). Typically, about half of the fish is discarded during processing, whereas Wildtype’s salmon is zero waste. We also don’t need to keep returning to live fish to continue producing food in this way. Our inputs are sustainably sourced, and this enables our oceans to recover from the pressures of overfishing.”
Photo: Wildtype
While the world of cultivated meat clearly has its benefits, one question remains: Are conscious consumers truly ready for this shift? Whitney says absolutely. “Today, we’re seeing a significant shift with consumers being much more passionate and committed to making purchase decisions based on values. And overall, people are starting to pay more attention to how their purchase and lifestyle choices impact the world,” she says. “That’s been an incredibly encouraging trend for us to see as an industry. People are looking for more sustainable and humane ways to have the products that they love, and cultivated meat will provide a great option for just that.”
Kolbeck has noticed the same shift in the restaurant industry. “We regularly receive inbound interest from chefs and restaurant owners looking for
sustainable seafood
,” he says. “Their customers are increasingly concerned about the health of our oceans, preserving biodiversity, and minimizing the amount of pollutants (microplastics, antibiotics, mercury) associated with eating conventional seafood.”
It’s safe to say that these innovations have the ability to completely shake up the industry for the better—and by the looks of it, this will be the year the world finally gets to experience the magic of cultivated meat products.