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Lab-Grown Burgers Could Hit the Market in the Next Five Years

Would you eat a test tube burger?

The world's first lab-grown burger
The world's first lab-grown burger
David Parry via AFP/Getty Images

Some say artificial lab-grown meat is the future of food — and the future could be arriving sooner than you think. According to the BBC, the Dutch scientists that produced the world's first lab-grown burger back in 2013 say they hope to have a cheaper, tastier version of the meat product on sale within the next five years.

Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands tells the BBC that the artificial meat "would be available as an exclusive product to order to begin with, but would be on supermarket shelves once a demand had been established and the price comes down." That first burger cost a whopping $380,000 to make, but since then the price to produce lab-grown beef has been plummeting: Earlier this year, Post estimated that production of lab-grown beef now costs about $28 USD per pound.

According to a 2011 study, the production of lab-grown meat requires 99 percent less land and 96 percent less water than raising traditional cattle. The process of making meat in a lab is perhaps not as spooky as it sounds: It involves harvesting stem cells from cows and then culturing them to grow new muscle tissue.