Just remembered that a while ago I started writing a quick future timeline of the next decade or so about cultured meat, but now I look at it the dates are probably a bit off:
- World's first lab-grown burger was cooked and eaten at a news conference in London at a cost of $325,000.
- A number of startups such as Memphis Meats, Supermeat and JUST begin to develop a range of meat products. Billionaires such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson were some of the people backing these companies. Many traditional meat companies and stakeholders start campaigning for lab-grown meat to not be called “meat”, this fails, but they are successful in lab-grown products having to be clearly labelled as not coming from a live animal.
- The first lab-grown meats are available initially at certain restaurants and then some supermarkets. At first, these were very expensive and relatively poor quality. The first products consisted of ground meats such as burgers, sausages, meatballs, and chicken nuggets. Demand for these products are initially high as people enjoy the novelty of trying lab-grown meats for the first time and for the first few weeks they become sold out. Similarly, some consumers who are vegetarians and vegans for ethical and environmental reasons begin to occasionally buy lab-grown meat as a treat. A large proportion of the population still finds the idea of lab-grown meat distasteful and do not try it. The market share in developed nations is less than 1%.
- During this period the lab-grown meat market grows considerably, but the price and quality still doesn’t match traditional meats. Most consumers prefer to buy traditional meats instead and cultured meat still has a very small market share. Despite this, the media attention over lab-grown meat is considerable and many more start-ups as well as some of the largest food manufactures invest heavily into production. At the same time there are campaigns against the production of lab-grown meat. Towards the end of this period, there are some breakthroughs in creating more complex meat products, such as those resembling prime beef cuts or chicken breast. These will not be available for sale at reasonable prices for a number of years.
- For certain low-quality ground meat products, lab-grown meats can compete on price with traditional meats. Some fast food producers begin to introduce lab-grown meat alternatives into their menus. They also begin to run campaigns boasting of the ethical and environmental benefits of this meat. At this point the number of people unwilling to try cultured meat becomes much smaller, however there is a very vocal minority of people (mainly from the anti-GMO, anti-vaxxer, chemtrail crowd) who become opposed to these meats with spurious claims of its health effects. Similarly, traditional meat producers lobby and run campaigns boasting of the higher quality and greater nutrition of traditional meat.
- Low quality ground meat products are now becoming less expensive than their traditional counterparts. The number of traditional vegans/vegetarians plummets as up to 50% of them begin to regularly purchase lab grown meat products. There is a new word to describe this group who only eat lab grown meat from ethically sourced culture cells.There is shock as some fast food manufacturers decide to only stock lab-grown meat. Towards the end of this era many animal protection groups and environmentalists begin to produce campaigns to encourage consumers to only consume lab grown products.