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Cultivated Meat

Health authorities globally are responsible for assessing any potential risks before products hit the market. Consequently, consumed products will not pose risks. A joint report from the FAO and WHO in 2023 established that cultured meat does not pose higher risks than its conventional counterpart. Certain hazards are even eliminated. The production process of cultured meat avoids the use of antibiotics, thereby preventing antibiotic resistance, a significant health issue. Furthermore, this type of meat is produced in a sterile environment, thus mitigating bacterial contamination risks. It also eliminates the possibility of zoonoses, diseases transmitted from animals to humans, such as avian flu or mad cow disease.

There are still few studies on the environmental impact of cultivated meat, but the initial results are promising. They suggest that greenhouse gas emissions would be significantly reduced compared to conventional farming, especially if decarbonized energy sources are used. Moreover, cultivated meat greatly reduces water consumption and land use.

Unlike conventional meat, no animal is killed in the production of cultivated meat. A simple cell biopsy is painless enough to produce several tons of meat.

This question is not a relevant one. The idea that what is natural is always good and what is not is bad has no solid foundation. Many natural substances are toxic to humans, such as arsenic, or nutmeg at certain doses. On the other hand, vaccines and antibiotics, which are not perceived as “natural”, save millions of lives. Moreover, it is difficult to clearly define what is natural nowadays, as most of our food comes from human processing. For example, fruits and vegetables have been selected to change their physical appearance or nutritional qualities. In industrial farming, which represents the overwhelming majority of today’s farming, animals are genetically selected, and treated, to produce more meat, milk or eggs.

These products are for anyone who wants to benefit from the taste and texture of animal products while reducing their ecological footprint, respecting animal welfare, and avoiding risks associated with conventional meat. They are not specifically intended for vegetarians or vegans.

Some people find the taste and texture of plant alternatives unsatisfactory; these people are looking for the same thing as conventional meat, but simply produced differently. Cultivated meat is complementary to plant alternatives: the idea is to get closer to conventional animal products in terms of taste, nutritional qualities, and use. Both types of products each meet a slightly different target audience.

The challenges are two-fold: technical challenges and societal challenges. Production must be scaled, but this can only happen if the market exists and demand is there. Companies need to optimize costs, in a sector that is still largely in the research and development stage. On the other hand, people need to be made aware of the benefits of developing cultivated meat for the ecological transition, and public authorities need to step up and invest in the field.

No. This use was necessary at the very beginning. Today, none of the companies working on cultivated meat plan to use bovine fetal serum in their products. Fetal bovine serum-free nutritional solutions are being developed to replace this practice, and some companies have even shared their production process.

As a “novel food”, cultivated meat must undergo very strict health analysis in the different political orders, and so far only two countries have had the opportunity to rule (Singapore and the United States); the analysis has been positive in both cases. No dossier has yet been filed in the European Union (the authorization to market is at this level, and not at the level of the Member States).


In the field of alternative proteins, plant-based products refer to products made from plants as alternatives to animal-derived products. This includes meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy alternatives. The term, in this sense, does not cover more traditional products like lentil steaks for example. Its development is not recent, but recent years have seen an explosion of innovations in response to growing concerns about sustainability, food safety, and impacts on the environment and public health. Current plant-based meat options are increasingly popular among “flexitarian” consumers.

The plant-based market is experiencing significant growth, but plant-based meat currently only accounts for about 1% of the meat market in the United States. For it to become a significant part of the global meat market, additional research and development efforts are needed. The key to this growth lies in concerted collaboration to mobilize the necessary financial, human, and technological resources.

Plant-based meat uses proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water present in plants to reproduce the biochemical characteristics of animal meat. The specific texture of meat is achieved through the spatial arrangement of proteins in muscle tissue. The production of plant-based meat involves three main steps: growing raw materials, processing plants to obtain the necessary ingredients, and finally, manufacturing the final product. In addition to plant-based meat, there are other plant-based alternatives such as dairy products and egg substitutes. Some companies use mushroom fermentation to create meat analogs, but this is not considered plant-based meat. Products can also be developed from microalgae and algae.

Environmental studies show that plant-based products are generally the most eco-friendly choice, even though all alternative proteins are in any case more eco-friendly than conventional meat (this is one of their main interests). Additionally, we have more experience and more studies on these products.


Fermentation is a powerful process using microorganisms to produce alternative proteins. It has been used for millennia in food production, to preserve food, create alcoholic beverages, and improve the nutritional value of foods like yogurt and tempeh. Over time, its use has expanded to many other applications. There are three types of fermentation for alternative proteins: traditional fermentation, biomass fermentation, and precision fermentation.

Traditional fermentation is the process of transforming food through microbial anaerobic digestion. This is how beer, wine, yogurt, and cheese are made. For the production of alternative proteins, traditional fermentation can be used to enhance the flavor or functionality of plant-based ingredients, as has historically been the case with tempeh.

Biomass fermentation uses the high protein content and rapid growth of microorganisms to efficiently produce large quantities of protein-rich foods. In this application, the microorganisms that reproduce through this process are themselves ingredients for alternative proteins. For example, Quorn grows filamentous mushrooms by fermentation to use them as the main ingredient in their products.

Precision fermentation uses microorganisms to produce specific functional ingredients. Microorganisms are programmed to be small production factories. This is how insulin for diabetic patients is produced, as well as rennet for cheese. Precision fermentation allows producers of alternative proteins to efficiently produce specific proteins, enzymes, aromatic molecules, vitamins, pigments, and fats.

Ingredients made by fermentation can be used for plant-based or cultured products. For meat, eggs, and dairy products based on plants, traditional fermentation can improve the digestibility, flavor, texture, and nutrients of existing ingredients. Ingredients made by fermentation can also be combined with plant-based ingredients to enhance plant-based meat products. For cultured meat, precision fermentation can efficiently produce nutrients and growth factors for cell culture media. Proteins produced by fermentation, such as collagen or fibronectin, can serve as animal-free components for the development of more complex cultured meat products.

The production of alternative proteins is generally much more efficient than conventional meat production. Fermentation allows us to reduce food waste by transforming low-value agricultural by-products into nutritious and tasty food. Biomass fermentation, for example, is a very efficient way to produce a lot of proteins. The microorganisms used reproduce and grow very quickly, with a doubling time of a few hours, compared to several months or years for animals. Bioreactors are also very efficient in terms of space. When enlarged, fermentation can produce several tons of biomass per hour. These organisms are also very rich in proteins. Proteins derived from fermentation offer the same taste sensations and nutritional benefits as animal products, without undesirable substances such as cholesterol, antibiotics, and hormones. In addition, protein production through fermentation is beneficial for human health and planet health, reducing pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and saving water and land. Fermentation can also use cheap raw materials from industrial or agricultural by-products, thus reducing production costs and transport-related emissions.

To advance fermentation, public policies need to focus on five key areas: target selection and design, strain development, raw material optimization, bioreactor design, and final product formulation and manufacture.