Lab-Grown Burgers Are Now Practically Affordable

Courtesy of Cultured Beef

The year was 2013. Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” was working its way toward the top of the charts without the burden of a lawsuit. Kids on the Internet were obsessed with a dance phenomenon known as the Harlem Shake. And a small group of scientists created the world’s first test-tube-grown beef hamburger patty for the rock-bottom price of just $325,000.

My how things have changed. Scientists continued to plug away at lab-grown meat, and now, in just two years’ time, the prices have come down dramatically. How dramatically? 99.9972 percent. According to Mark Post, a Dutch professor who spoke earlier this year at Australia’s Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association annual conference, lab beef can now be produced at an estimated price of about $80 per kilogram—meaning a Quarter Pounder patty would run just $9. It’s certainly not cheap, but it is approaching somewhat affordable territory. And Post predicts prices will be even lower within a few years.

But despite the decrease in production cost we have a while to go before lab meat makes it to the kitchen. “I do think that in 20, 30 years from now we will have a viable industry producing alternative beef,” Post told Australia’s ABC News. But for now, the industry still faces challenges when it comes to the viability of large-scale production—and, of course, getting people to eat lab meat.

You think the anti-GMO crowd is tough? Those anti-lab meat people will probably be quite a handful.

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