Home Lifestyle First lab-grown beef burger ready to hit SA

First lab-grown beef burger ready to hit SA

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Consumers concerned about climate change, animal welfare and their own health are fuelling interest in so-called clean meat.

Picture: Supplied

MEAT, despite popular movements to decrease the amount humans consume, is still a central part of diets around the world.

As the population grows, people are eating more meat. This increase in demand, however, comes at a great cost to our planet, which is why companies are now introducing cultivated meat (lab-grown meat).

Consumers concerned about climate change, animal welfare and their own health are fuelling interest in so-called clean meat.

In 2020, Eat Just, a company that applies cutting-edge science and technology to create healthier, more sustainable foods, became the first company to be granted regulatory approval for lab-grown meat in the world. That year, a handful of diners sat down to a futuristic meal at 1880, a members-only restaurant in Singapore.

The star ingredient was “no-kill” chicken – raised not on a farm but in a laboratory bio-reactor by Eat Just. Attendees snacked on lab-grown nuggets paired with crispy maple waffles, bao buns, and black bean puree. For the founder and entrepreneur Josh Tetrick it was a breakthrough. Tetrick’s company had become the first in the world to sell the product after receiving approval from Singapore authorities.

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Joining this emerging sub-industry is Mzansi Meat Co, a South African cultivated meat company that has been harnessing cellular agriculture technology in order to make meat from the cells of animals without actually harming the animal.

After two years of research and development, the company is proud to announce that next month it will be showcasing the first cultivated beef burger in Africa at a bespoke event in Cape Town. The company plans on scaling up the production of their cultivated meat in order to ensure cruelty-free meat is available on as many plates around the country as possible.

However, their sights are not only set on burgers. The brand has plans to introduce minced beef burgers, sausages, nuggets, steaks, and even chicken into the SA market over the next few years. Their vision is to produce meat that will be used in traditional African and South African cuisine.

Chief executive officer of Mzansi Meat Co Brett Thompson says the African population is expected to grow from 1.3 billion to 2.5 billion by 2050, and the demand for meat is expected to rise with it.

“This challenge presents an opportunity. An opportunity for a new source of protein, cultivated meat, to be part of the solution for food security on the continent. We’ve always had a thing for meat. It’s easy to see why – meat goes with all occasions and brings us together to make moments more flavourful. It’s also a rich form of protein loved by cultures the world over,” said Thompson.

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