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Poll of the Week: Would You Eat 3D Printed Meat or Fish?

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While 3D printed cultivated meat is definitely still a very novel concept, there have been significant milestones in the pioneering alternative meat industry over the past decade. So in our latest Poll of the Week, we decided to ask our LinkedIn followers if they would ever consider trying 3D printed meat or fish…and the answer was a resounding NO.

15% of respondents said they would absolutely try it, and 36% said that, while it seems kind of weird, they’d try a little. Only 4% had already tried it. Finally, a whopping 44% said they definitely wouldn’t try 3D printed meat or fish because they wanted, in my words, “the real thing.”

Lab-grown meat was already being considered in the 90s, but in 2011, Modern Meadow became one of the earliest startups in the alternative meat space that considered combining biotechnology with 3D printing. Cultured meat really got going in 2018, as investments poured in to fuel advances in and production of “fake” meats. In 2020, the U.S., European Union (EU), Singapore, Israel, U.K., Australia, and Canada began developing guidelines for lab-grown meats, and by 2022, conversations around the world about alternative meats were focused on legislation and scaling up.

Of course, there are plenty of issues with 3D printed meats, such as environmental concerns about the sustainability of lab-grown meats and the diverse regulatory environment. A law was approved in Italy, as Senior Writer Vanesa Listek explains, that bans “the use, sale, import, and export of lab-grown food and animal feed derived from vertebrate animals” in order to preserve conventional food production methods. But, lab-grown meats have many important benefits as well, such as decreased greenhouse gas emissions and the fact that you could enjoy a hamburger without contributing to the often unethical or cruel practices surrounding the animal slaughtering industry.

Printing a steak. Image courtesy of Steakholder Foods.

To the naysayers—I get it, I really do. If you love the flavor, smell, texture, etc. of real meat and seafood, it’s hard to imagine those qualities being replicated in a fake version created in a lab and on a 3D printer. I would eat shrimp until the cows came home, and then I’d probably eat the cow, too. But as I always say, we’ve only got one planet, and if eating alternative meats can help even a little in making sure the earth stays around for many future generations, then pass me a fork.

Featured image courtesy of Revo Foods.

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