If chicken is on the menu for tonight’s dinner, you probably know it came from an actual chicken. But in the future, that piece of meat might have been grown in a lab.
San Francisco-based Memphis Meats announced Wednesday that it had successfully produced what it dubs the “world’s first clean poultry” — both chicken and duck — without actually raising animals.
The process, which the company believes could one day revolutionize the meat industry, uses animal cells to produce meat without feeding, breeding, or slaughtering animals.
That’s all well and good, but does the meat actually taste like meat?
The Wall Street Journal reports that Memphis Meats provided samples of the clean chicken to taste-testers in San Francisco on Tuesday.
The testers said the samples, which were breaded and deep-fried, tasted similar to traditional chicken, noting that many would eat it again.
The company, and other start-ups like it, have previously produced clean beef. In fact, Memphis Meats debuted a clean meatball in Feb. 2016.
“We aim to produce meat in a better way, so that it is delicious, affordable and sustainable,” Uma Valeti, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats, said in a statement. “We really believe this is a significant technological leap for humanity.”
The WSJ reports that its not just start-ups aiming to change the way meat is produced. Tyson Foods set up a venture-capital fund to invest in lab-roan meat, while Hormel Foods has said the technology could be a long-term option.
But the prospect of using lab-grown meats to feed the masses isn’t something that will happen anytime soon. In fact, the WSJ reports that one pound of Memphis Meat chicken costs $9,000. By comparison, chicken breast sold in grocery stores currently averages $3.22/pound.