Will You Eat Cultured Chicken “Meat”?
People who live in Singapore might now be using the line from the famous Quaker Oats cereal commercial, "Let's get Mikey, he hates everything". They can now buy some products that use cultured ingredients to replace real chicken meat. But then after trying the new manufactured chicken product just approved there, they might also follow up with another phrase from the commercial, "He likes it! Hey, Mikey!" It isn’t approved in the United States yet, but it may not be that far off. The manufactured food company Eat Just, Inc. is working on a red meat alternate along with its now Singapore approved cultured chicken product.
Eat Just is also embarking on a partnership with another company to produce an egg substitute that uses mung beans as its primary protein source. Eat Just executives and others in the emerging industry say their products are sorely needed to help feed the exploding global population. And they claim their real meat alternates are better for us and better for the global environment. But the catch is always how the taste and texture go over, along with the price.
In the case of the chicken substitute, real chicken cells are used as a foundation of the process. But past that, no one argues that it is not real chicken, but very close. Test kitchens are hard at work developing ways to use the new cultured chicken in a variety of meals and recipes. Eat Just has a large team of scientists, regulatory experts, and product developers laying out all kinds of documentation describing how they process the cultured “meat”, and how best to characterize the new chicken-based product. They are noting in great detail the identity and stability of the real chicken cells being used, along with detailing the purity and overall safety for consumption. And without letting out too much about the manufacturing process, they are showing how their product stands up to the most technical food safety monitoring programs.
But in the end, our acceptance will still come down to how it looks, chews, and tastes.