In vitro meat is meat that is grown in a lab. Now before you say “Ewww” and ignore the rest of this section, try to think scientifically. Meat is composed of atoms, and if you can recreate those atoms in the exact fashion — but by a different means — it is still meat. If you were presented with two pieces of buff, one in vitro and one from a buffalo, and you couldn’t tell them apart by taste or texture or anything else, would it still be gross? The answer is that lab meat doesn’t have to be a gross blob. We can create meat that is identical to current meat. That’s not gross — that’s a practical replacement. It’s called In vitro meat.
Whatever your stance on vegetarian or eating meat, it cannot be disputed that our current system of acquiring meat is unsustainable. Large amounts of resources are used into feeding, slaughtering, and it waste massive amounts of water and energy. The animals we raise produces large amounts of methane gas, which is a significant contributor to climate change.
Many animals are kept in tight, closed places for the entirety of their lives and never allowed to roam. Say what you will about the ethics of killing animals for food, but the conditions that many animals are raised in should be appalling to anyone.
However, it is not realistic to imagine a future where humans are not eating meat. Humans are diverse eaters, and we could survive without meat, but there is a culture of eating meat in most parts of the world that cannot be erased. To answer this, there is in vitro meat.
Plus, in vitro meat is never alive, so it never dies. Ethically, it makes much more sense. Environmentally, it requires less resources to grow. Economically, though, the price of in vitro meat is still much too high for mass production. And with a large farming lobby in the US and other countries, there could be a legal barrier as well.
Those high productions costs could be the biggest barrier to consumer in vitro meat products. Hopefully, advancements in the field will continue to drive the price down. Companies like New Harvest and Modern Meadow are working to make in vitro meat a reality. Or, who knows, maybe we’ll be 3D printing our meat?