3D printers are pretty neat and all, it’s hard to argue against that, but are they really the answer to world’s constant demand for meat? According to a Missouri-based startup, you might soon enjoy for dinner, a 3D printed meat meal.
There are many times when technology really does improve things in our daily life, but the thought of a 3D printed meat dinner somehow isn’t that appealing. Modern Meadow is a Missouri-based startup that believes 3D bioprinting of meat might be the best replacement of actual animal origins meat.
Even if 3D printed meat might finally give animal rights groups such as PETA, Greenpeace and Mercy for Animals a rest, health advocators would surely have something against it. 3D printing does sound great when it comes to creating shoes, medical implants and guns, but somehow linking artificial to food doesn’t make it more appealing.
Modern Meadow sent a submission to the United States Department of Agriculture advocating for the mass production of 3D printed meat. “The technology has several advantages in comparison to earlier attempts to engineer meat in vitro” reads the company’s submission. “The bio-ink particles can be reproducibly prepared with mixtures of cells of different type. Printing ensures consistent shape, while post-printing structure formation and maturation in the bioreactor facilitates conditioning” Modern Meadow explained.
Their selling pitch for 3D printed meat is simple: small costs. Andras Forgacs, Modern Meadow cofounder told Mashable: “If you look at the resource intensity of everything that goes into a hamburger, it is an environmental train wreck”. 6.7 pounds of grain, 52.8 gallons of water, 74.5 square feet of land and some 1,036 Btus of fossil fuel energy go into the production of one hamburger.
But the U.S. consumers buying up to 26.4 billion pounds of beef a year might not take a 3D printed meat stake that lightly. The 3D printed meat advocator is well aware of that. “The consumer acceptance of such products may not be without challenges” says Modern Meadow. “We expect it will first appeal to culinary early-adopter consumers and the segment of the vegetarian community that rejects meat for ethical reasons” they added.
The company already received financial support for its 3D printed meat project. Billionaire Peter Thiel granted Modern Meadow a sum between $250,000 and $350,000.