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Instead of Trying for Better Veggie Burgers, Food Technologists Should Create Truly New Flavors

Instead of Trying for Better Veggie Burgers Food Technologists Should Create Truly New Flavors MIT Technology Review


In theory, cultured meat can be scaled and may offer something closer to real meat than any other inventions in the works. By its nature, it would offer the complex flavors of meat. But it is still in the basic-research phase. The problems are many: scientists must figure out how to build intramuscular fat, sinew, cartilage, and even bone, and a structure to mimic veins and blood vessels that will keep the cells fed so they don’t become gangrenous. The work is so expensive that the steps forward are likely to come from trying to produce organs for transplant—which are “worth millions of dollars a pound instead of $10 a pound,” as Myhrvold points out.

Stashed in: Bill Gates, @ev, MIT TR, Meat!, World Hunger, Taste!, Nathan Myhrvold

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Myrvhold is right, of course.

And I didn't realize till Ev said it how macho a thing meat is.

Of course, there are rational reasons not to eat meat. You can probably recite them along with Ethan Brown, a strapping 6-foot-5 vegan who sold his house in Washington, D.C., and raided his family’s savings accounts to fund a startup called Beyond Meat. Because raising livestock is such an inefficient use of land and water, he thought that making soy “chicken” strips and vegetable-protein “Beast” patties would be an even better way to improve the environment than creating fuel cells, the career he abandoned. Along the way he signed up Bill Gates and Twitter founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams as investors. It’s hard, in fact, to find a tech billionaire who hasn’t invested in a protein alternative that aims to stamp out factory farming. They all recognize the realities of the market: everybody buys burgers. “Meat is such a macho thing,” Williams says.

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