If the production of cultured meat still generates a lot of fantasy, particularly in Europe where it is not authorized, it would in fact be our pets who could eat it. A Czech start-up has just obtained approval to launch the production of food for dogs and cats.
If you wouldn’t dare eat a steak produced under a microscope, would you agree to give your dog kibble made from this same piece of meat? The question seems anecdotal, especially at a time when Europe has not authorized the marketing of cultured meat, unlike Singapore or the United States, which gave the green light last summer to the deployment of chicken. cellular. At a time when the Italian government has once again reaffirmed its desire to ban synthetic meat, a Czech company has just obtained approval validating its research and giving it the latitude to deploy production on a larger scale of his project.
Lab meat for your four-legged friend?
The start-up is called Bene Meat and it doesn’t make burger patties or chicken fillets for nuggets, but meat to feed our four-legged friends. The laboratory, based in Prague, currently only supplies a few kilos of meat, but with this authorization production could be multiplied by a hundred. And this is not a science fiction scenario since this objective would be achieved next year.
In recent years, we have seen the emergence of new ranges of kibbles and pâtés for dogs and cats in line with the new eating habits of owners. There is vegan food, but also organic, and more recently insect-based. So why not made from laboratory meat? Beyond the authorization that this type of kibble will have to obtain to really end up in the bowl, they will above all have to convince the owners that it is a beneficial diet for their dog. Last June, an Ipsos study revealed that 49% of French people who have a cat or dog favored a particular diet depending on whether their companion could perceive the benefits.
A meat that remains very expensive today
The other problem is the price. In one year, between last March and the same month a year earlier, the price of kibble jumped by 18% on average, according to figures from NielseniQ. Buyers will therefore expect those made from cultured meat to be an economical alternative. Unfortunately, the projects that have really come to fruition today to develop a steak that can be consumed by a human being are extremely expensive, due to the use of fetal bovine serum, essential to activate the multiplication of cells.
The whole challenge of this new sector now consists not of demonstrating that we know how to produce a steak under a microscope, but rather of reducing the costs of this production. And to do this, the numerous start-ups around the world which have launched into this niche are closely interested in the development of synthetic fetal serum which makes it possible to avoid the use of the controversial original product. It is in fact a “product” that is taken from a suckling cow sent to the slaughterhouse.