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Steep prices push lab-grown meat makers to pitch products as ‘humane luxuries’

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[M]akers of cultured meat, such as Memphis Meats, New Age Meats and Aleph Farms, face several barriers to bringing their food to consumers. First, it’s not yet clear whether customers will eat—much less pay for—meat that’s grown from cells rather than reared on a farm. Second, cultured meat is vastly more expensive than conventional meat to produce. It costs Finless [Foods] slightly less than $4,000 to make a pound of tuna—about 20% the price of gold. Prices for conventional tuna vary, but Browne Trading, a Portland, Maine-based fish supplier, buys line-caught bluefin for $8 to $12 a pound and sells it to restaurants for $19 a pound.

To overcome high costs and customer reluctance, Finless and some other producers have adopted a counterintuitive strategy: They are copying the most exclusive, expensive types of traditional meat, positioning their products as innovative, humane luxuries worth the steep price tags. They want to be to dinner what Tesla Inc. is to cars.

Related article:  USDA, FDA approval of lab-grown protein likely to spur 'all-out development' of clean meat products

“We don’t want to go for low-range, low-cost, low-price product,” said Didier Toubia, chief executive of Aleph, an Israeli startup that uses biomedical engineering techniques to combine muscle, fat, blood vessel and other types of cells to replicate beef.

Read full, original article: Lab-Grown Meat Is Coming, but the Price Is Hard to Stomach (Behind Paywall)

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