Building The High-Tech Hamburger: Perfecting Fake Meat

From vegetable based substitutions to lab grown steaks, the race is on to replace meat as we know it. The question is, will you be willing to eat it?

Like it or not, as the population increases, we need to look at more efficient ways to produce food. Soylent Green could be an option, but most people enjoy something with a little more mouth feel.

Startup Impossible Foods has taken the approach that we can use science to build meats and even cheese from plants. Founded by Stanford biochemistry professor Patrick Brown, the company hopes to make a product that looks, feel, tastes and cooks like real meat.

See that burger above? That’s the real deal, made from plants.

The secret is a protein called heme, which can be found in both plants and animals. Impossible Foods Thinks heme is the answer, and says it’s the real reason why meat tastes the way it does.

Apparently it tastes pretty good — something like a cross between beef and turkey. Check out the video below – it sure looks and sounds nice.

So what about real meat, just grown in labs? That technology is still lagging behind making fake meat from plants, but some progress has been made.

Back in 2013 a lab grown burger was grown, but cost a massive $400,000

Now? The same meat costs about $15. It’s not actually ready for commercial production though, so don’t expect it at your local McDonalds.

Unlike meat made from plant proteins, lab grown meat uses a type of stem cell from a cow that are triggered into becoming muscle cells. They keep growing and and eventually form a strip of meat.

Apparently it didn’t taste so great, partly because there wasn’t any fat to add flavour.

The other (and quite efficient) option is to simply grind up insects, mash them together and fry it all up.

What would you prefer? Fake meat from plants, real meat grown in a lab or mooshed up insects? I could go a grasshopper burger…

[Grub Street]

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