Food, whether lab-made or naturally occurring, is an important aspect of our lives. Regardless of whether we are choosing meat, carbs, fish, veg, or dairy, we should always choose to eat nutritiously and sustainably produced foods. In recent years, interest in plant-based and vegan sources of food has increased.
Vegans do not object to eating meat, but they remain concerned about the way it is produced. The word vegan generally refers to a diet or lifestyle that abstains from eating meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey, and any other animal byproducts (such as honey and leather) (the exception being fruit, but that’s about it). Most vegans eat vegetarian, or mostly vegetarian. Veganism is becoming more mainstream and even more mainstream types of vegan foods are available in stores now.
There has been a lot of debate in recent years about lab-made meat and whether or not it should be considered vegan. It seems that vegans want to avoid using animal products completely as opposed to just avoiding using products from animals that have been treated poorly. Thus, a vegan diet would include non-dairy butter, cheese, milk, eggs, honey, and many other foods made from animals. This started us wondering if foods created for us in laboratories are actually vegan after all.
Veganism isn’t a new concept at all. One study shows that more than half of Americans want to consume more fruits and vegetables every day. The Institute of Medicine states that the majority of Americans should be eating more fruit and vegetables every day, and numerous food blogs and magazines are now focused on veganism. In fact, many top restaurants serve vegan options as part of their fine dining offerings now. For those who aren’t satisfied with plant-based alternatives, some tech experts might have an answer for you. Could meat substitutes made in a lab be the answer for meat-lovers who want to cut out the cruelty of factory farming?
Now, it might sound scary and weird but Lab-made food is on the rise. Lab-made meat is created from a mix of embryos, tissue, and muscle cells. Lab-made (and natural) fats and proteins have been used to grow animals for thousands of years; it is only recently that scientists have begun to isolate these ingredients and turn them into food for people. Some argue that lab-made (or genetically modified or otherwise) food is essential for feeding a growing population. With 7 billion people now needing to eat every day, that is over a trillion meals a year. Something, somewhere needs to serve that hunger, is genetically modified food the answer?
There are many reasons why people choose to eat meat such as taste, health, love of certain nutrients found in meat, and the fact that they produce nutritious meat in small quantities. But the environmental impact on the planet has become a growing concern for many. However, considering the global meat industry that we live in and the consumption habits of many countries around the world, veganism may not be the answer for everyone. This is how Lab-made food has become part of the conversation. Meat, but made on a huge scale without hurting animals or the planet (kind of).
The general public and the food industry have been getting more and more focused on veganism, and even plant-based vegetarianism. Some put their trust in companies that label their vegan products as such, but others feel that companies should not be providing such options unless they have been specifically formulated to avoid animal ingredients. It is true that some vegetarian and vegan options are made in labs — but they do so in such a manner that gives the consumer a false sense of security that the food is truly vegan.
Unlike 100% natural meats, many lab-made food products still contain one or more ingredients derived from animals, which do not fall under vegan guidelines and could give animal advocates concern. Is it safe? Yes, it’s just like food that’s gone through government inspection for other kinds of meats. Does it taste good? Yes. A lot of people say lab-created meat tastes the same as real meat.
Should we be eating it? We’ll leave that up to you. Let us know what you think on social media.