retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports on a Northern California based food technology startup - improbably named Memphis Meats - that has "successfully developed the world’s first chicken strip grown from self-reproducing cells without so much as ruffling a feather."

According to the story, "Scientists, startups and animal-welfare activists believe the new product could help to revolutionize the roughly $200 billion U.S. meat industry. Their goal: Replace billions of cattle, hogs and chickens with animal meat they say can be grown more efficiently and humanely in stainless steel bioreactor tanks."

Taste-testers reportedly have weighed in favorably about both the taste and texture of the new chicken strips.

However, there is a long way to go before such strips are economically competitive with what most probably would think of as the real thing.

The Journal says that "Memphis Meats estimates its current technology can yield 1 pound of chicken meat for less than $9,000." However, "Boneless chicken breast costs an average $3.22 per pound in U.S. grocery stores, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics."

In fact, there is a long, long, long way to go. But Memphis Meats estimates that it will be able to sell its meat commercially - and, presumably, competitively - by 2021.

Even if it takes a little longer, the impact that technology is likely to have on the food we eat is an Eye-Opener.
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