Lab-grown meat could be a game changer for the American meatpacking industry.
It would bring about the change in the way the meat industry works and the change that would allow people to eat less meat.
The company that owns LabCorp Meat has partnered with a growing number of other companies, including Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride, to produce and sell lab-grown meats.
For the past year, it has been developing and testing new technologies to make lab-made meat at a fraction of the cost of conventional meat.
LabCorp said its lab-based meat could cost up to $5.30 per pound, compared with the average of about $10.80 per pound in the meat market.
The company said it plans to launch a new line of lab-produced beef in the next six to 12 months.
That could mean that by the end of 2019, consumers could start paying more for meat from a meat product made by human hands, LabCorp CEO Joe Ruppel said.
A big part of that, he said, is the fact that people would be able to buy meat that was grown in their own backyard.
“We can make that more affordable and more convenient than ever,” Ruppell said.
“That’s going to create a lot of new opportunities.”
LabCorp is the biggest lab-driven meat company in the world.
It makes more than 80 products from meat, like meat sauce, sausage, and chicken.
The meat is ground, smoked, and cured to make it more tender.
It also can be made into soups, burgers, and pasta sauces.
In 2016, the company reported revenue of about 1.5 billion pounds of lab meat.
There are about 200 lab-related businesses in the U.S. The majority are small, mostly for research, and only one or two have the potential to create massive consumer demand, Ruppels said.
That means the majority of the industry is concentrated in a small handful of locations.
Lab-based meats are typically made in the lab, which means there’s a lot less waste and less animal suffering than traditional meat production, Roppels said, but they’re not without their challenges.
For one thing, the process of growing meat is much less complicated than for conventional animals.
“If we can’t get the meat to the farm in the right size, we can make it to the factory, and then it’s much harder to do a follow-up process,” Roppel said, adding that that’s one of the challenges with lab-growing meat.
In the past, there has been a lot more debate about how lab-derived meat should be processed, and how it should be sold.
Lab-grown beef has a higher protein content, but the company says it is still not 100 percent meat.
It’s a bit like the way we buy meat, he added.
But the company is already working on a way to get more meat out of it, Raffel said about the next generation of meat.
That is, it’s trying to find ways to make the meat more meaty.
“We’re starting to explore how we can produce meat that has a lot better texture, more flavor,” Raffels said of the next-generation product.