Lab meat soon in Swiss shops?
Research into alternatives to animal meat is in full swing. Cultured meat could be a resource-efficient source of protein in the future. Migros now wants to conquer the Swiss market with cultured beef steaks together with an Israeli start-up. The two companies have submitted a licence application to the federal government.
Friday, August 18, 2023
As reported by «20 Minuten», the Israeli start-up Aleph Farms wants to bring the world's first cultured beef steaks to the Swiss market. To this end, it submitted an application for approval to the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) in cooperation with Migros. Migros has been working with Aleph Farms since 2019 and is also involved in the development of alternative meat products in Switzerland. Migros sees great potential in lab-grown meat to be able to sustainably cover the globally increasing meat consumption. According to a survey by Migros and Aleph Farms, 74 percent of Swiss consumers are open to cultured meat. However, it will probably be a few years before cultured steaks can be bought in Swiss shops. According to «20 Minuten», Migros does not expect distribution before 2030.
Alternative protein sources sought
Cultured meat, also called in vitro meat, is a meat product that has not been grown on the animal. Muscle stem cells from cattle are stimulated to grow in a special nutrient medium. The meat thus grows in a container and not on an animal. In the future, steaks and other meat products will be produced in a more resource-efficient and climate-friendly way. It is also a contribution to the development of alternative protein sources. In countries with a Western-style diet, animal-based foods provide the majority of protein. Since the production of animal proteins requires an extremely large amount of resources such as land, water or feed, alternative protein sources are sought.
Whether proteins from the laboratory are really more resource-efficient in the end, however, remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: for people to switch to non-animal proteins, the products have to taste good to them and they have to be in line with local eating traditions. Otherwise, the products will not be bought and thus cannot contribute to environmental protection. In addition, the food must be affordable for everyone. And this requires companies that can produce on a large scale.
Milk from the laboratory
In addition to meat, milk could also come from the laboratory or fermenter in the future. The Israeli start-up Remilk uses precision fermentation to produce milk that looks and tastes the same as the original cow's milk. However, according to the start-up, the «cow-free» milk has a significantly smaller ecological footprint.
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