What is Cultured Beef?

Cultured Beef is created by painlessly harvesting muscle cells from a living cow. Scientists then feed and nurture the cells so they multiply to create muscle tissue, which is the main component of the meat we eat. It is biologically exactly the same as the meat tissue that comes from a cow.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that the demand for meat is going to increase by more than two-thirds in the next 40 years and current production methods are not sustainable. In the near future both meat and other staple foods are likely to become expensive luxury items, thanks to the increased demand on crops for meat production, unless we find a sustainable alternative.

Livestock contributes to global warming through unchecked releases of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The increase in demand will significantly increase levels of methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide and cause loss of biodiversity.

Cultured Beef is likely a more sustainable option that will change the way we eat and think about food forever.

How Cultured Beef is made

So what is Cultured Beef? Cultured Beef is created by painlessly harvesting muscle cells from a living cow. Scientists then feed and nurture the cells so they multiply to create muscle tissue, which is the main component of the meat we eat. It is biologically exactly the same as the meat tissue that comes from a cow.

The cells grow into strands. 20,000 of these small strands of meat are then combined to create one normal sized hamburger.

The benefits

Although Mark Post’s burger is only intended as a proof of concept and it will be a while before Cultured Beef appears on supermarket shelves research already points to its potential.

Research carried out at the University of Oxford suggests that producing Cultured Beef could use as much as 99% less space than what is needed for current livestock farming methods. Research also points to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts for Cultured Beef being substantially lower than beef from modern farming.


What is Cultured Beef? Process step 1

A small sample of muscle tissue is removed and separated into individual cells. The cells are placed in a culture and start dividing on their own.

What is Cultured Beef? Process step 2

They naturally merge, arranging themselves into small myotubes. The myotubes are grown around gel hubs, contracting and bulking up as they grow into tissue.

What is Cultured Beef? Process step 3

With this technique, a single strand can produce over a trillion new strands. And when all these tiny pieces of grown muscle are layered together, we get beef.

See the entire process animation