Chicken is America’s most popular meat by a long shot — but it’s also one of the most environmentally damaging and cruel of the meat industries. What’s an ethical consumer to do if they want to enjoy their favorite foods without throwing out concerns about animals and the environment? That’s the puzzle that SuperMeat is trying to solve.
As one of a handful of cell-cultured meat startups on the market today, SuperMeat is a strong contender for being the first to bring lab-grown chicken to consumers. Curious? Then let’s take a closer look at the company, including what they’re making, how they’re doing it, and when you might be able to get a taste.
What Is SuperMeat?
SuperMeat is on a mission to make the world’s most delicious, sustainable, and cruelty-free chicken meat. By growing it directly from cells — and not from harvesting live animals — they aim to enhance the global food system, reduce carbon emissions, and offer an ethical alternative to factory farmed meat.
By focusing solely on chicken (and not branching out into pork, beef, duck, or seafood), SuperMeat has been able to accelerate their development process. This puts them at the forefront of the cultured meat movement, alongside longtime staples such as Memphis Meats. The only company that’s beat them to the punch, Eat Just, Inc., is based in Singapore — so unless you’re up for a long plane ride, SuperMeat is your best option for cultured chicken meat.
Unlike other producers of lab-grown meat, SuperMeat hasn’t stopped there. They’ve also introduced The Chicken, the first restaurant in the world where anyone can have a taste of cell-cultured meat. In an era where many companies are banking on letting people try their products later, this is a refreshing change of pace. Check out coverage of The Chicken in this video:
How Does SuperMeat Work?
SuperMeat’s chicken aims to be three things: Super tasty, nutritious, and sustainable. They accomplish this through a well-research process of first harvesting individual cells from live animals (no slaughter necessary). Then, a carefully prepared nutrient medium plays home to these regenerative cells, providing the building blocks necessary for the cells to grow just as they would within an animal. By controlling the environment that the cells grow in and providing them with electrical stimulation to mimic muscle movement, cultured meat is born!
Within four to six weeks from the initial cell harvesting, a whole new meat product is made. Better yet, because SuperMeat’s chicken isn’t exposed to the dirty and disease-ridden facilities employed in factory farming, it will have a much longer shelf life than standard chicken. In my mind, that’s a big win-win.
SuperMeat’s Product Line
As of the time of writing this article, SuperMeat focuses on one thing and one thing only: Delicious chicken meat that is true to the taste of the real thing. Some of the initial taste testers for SuperMeat say it even taste better than the usual chicken — cleaner, with a more robust flavor.
Once cell-cultured meat has received the FDA’s seal of approval — hopefully in the second half of 2021 — I’ll be excited to see what SuperMeat releases first. Will it be whole chicken breasts, ready to turn into your favorite meals? Classic chicken nuggets, but with a healthier breading? Or maybe ready-made meals with chicken as the star? All I know is, I’m looking very forward to tasting the future of food.
How Do SuperMeat’s Products Taste?
SuperMeat’s Tel-Aviv based The Chicken restaurant has been the epicenter of tasting for their innovative new product. Here are a few quotes from people who have tried their cell-cultured chicken:
[The chicken is] indistinguishable from conventionally manufactured chicken, and simply a great-tasting chicken burger.
Similar to many chicken burgers, it breaks and flakes when pulled apart and is extremely tender. It tastes, at least to this reporter, like a chicken burger.
Those are promising endorsements for an up and coming technology in food!
Where to Buy SuperMeat’s
Unless you have the good fortune to live in or be able to travel to Tel Aviv, Israel, you’ll have to wait to taste SuperMeat’s chicken. Cell-cultured meat is still in the process of being approved for sale in most of the world, with only Singapore allowing the sale of cultured meats to general consumers. I would encourage you to sign up for SuperMeat’s email list so you can be the first to know when their meat is available for sale.