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How Lab-Grown Meat Is Made

Scientists argue that lab-grown meat is the future. But what exactly is it?

Every month there seems to be a new headline touting that lab-grown meat is the future of food. Gizmodo proclaimed in August that "the future will be full of lab-grown meat," while the Washington Post's take, published two months earlier, simply declared: "This is the future of meat."

Each article details the benefits of growing meat in a lab: Traditional farming of animals, especially of cattle, requires a large amount of water and land. According to a 2011 study published in Environmental Science & Technology, cultured — or lab-grown — meat can "potentially be produced with up to 96 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions," 99 percent lower land use, and 96 percent lower water use than traditional cattle. And while a single lab-grown burger costs slightly more than $11 to make these days, scientist Mark Post — who is known for creating the first lab-grown burger — is confident the price will soon drop to around 65 dollars per kilo.

How does one grow meat in a lab without growing a full animal?

So what exactly is lab-grown meat? How does one grow meat in a lab without growing a full animal? The details are explained in the video above.

But for something the world is so sure represents the future, there is a drastic amount of research still left to be done. So far scientists have only successfully grown beef, but researchers are currently working on lab-grown chicken, too. And there is major question left to be explored: Will people actually eat it? For now, the answer is unclear. Conversations about lab-grown meat are mainly taking place in the scientific community, but chefs have yet to be involved. When Eater reached out to a number of prominent chefs across the country, most declined to comment about lab-grown meat, often citing they didn't have enough knowledge on the subject. But if this is the "the future of food," chefs may want to join the discussion, and soon.