Last month, food technology company Eat Just made history when it received regulatory approval to sell cultured meat, real meat created from animal cells, from Singapore’s food agency. In a private tasting event over the weekend, guests experienced the restaurant debut of the brand’s cultured chicken.
The dining experience took place at 1880, a Singapore-based venue that was “founded to inspire conversations that change the world.”
Over the course of the night, around 40 patrons partook in a four-course dinner featuring GOOD Meat Cultured Chicken (GOOD Meat is Eat Just’s new brand, announced in late November following regulatory approval).
According to a press release, the dinner is sold out through the end of the year. But, the restaurant plans to feature the cultured chicken on the menu in 2021.
Price and scalability have both been roadblocks in making cultured meat more readily available to the public. Eat Just’s chicken nugget cost $50 to make in 2019. At 1880, next year’s cultured chicken dish will be the same price as a premium conventional chicken dish.
Other cultured meat companies have indeed made progress toward price parity with meat in recent years. Dutch startup Mosa Meat unveiled its cultured burger in 2013. At the time, it cost €250,000 to make. Now, the company projects that it will cost €9.
A New Global Space Race?
“This historic accomplishment is not the result of a single company’s actions – far from it,” Josh Tetrick, CEO and founder of Eat Just, said in a statement.
Bruce Friedrich, the executive director of The Good Food Institute, a nonprofit that promotes the acceleration of alternative proteins, said that the sale of cultured meat “demonstrates the feasibility of this technology.”
“We hope this sets off a global space-race level response from governments,” he said in a statement sent to LIVEKINDLY. “Shifting away from industrial animal agriculture and toward plant-based and cultivated meat represents one of humanity’s most promising solutions for tackling climate change. Singapore and Israel are leading the way on this transition and China, the EU, and the United States need to catch up.”
Israel may be the next to approve the sale of cultured meat. In November, the startup SuperMeat opened a dining experience in order to gain the public’s feedback on its cultured chicken.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sampled cultured steak made by Aleph Farms at a tasting event in early December. He declared that “Israel will become a powerhouse for alternative meat and alternative protein.”