Hi so if you're a carnivore like me, then you'll love nothing more than biting into a juicy hamburger, or a succulent roast chicken.
But what if you could have the same meat experience without slaughtering an animal?
I'm here at Just in San Francisco where they're working on a clean meat, or a cultured meat product.
Using cells taken from a living chicken.
And then I am gonna try a lab grown chicken nuggets.
Wish me luck.
Speaking of labs, this is where it all begins.
The entire process to grow the meat take about two weeks.
And they're already able to produce several kilograms of meat with each run.
So give me a bit of a topline overview of how the entire process works, from cultivating the cells from a living animal through to actually having a finished cultured meat product.
So what we do here at [UNKNOWN] in our cultured meat project is we isolate the cells from The animal without having to sacrifice it.
And for that we just need the small volumes cells.
It can be done form a biopsy, it can be done from a feather, from a little bit of blood.
And then we take the cells to the lab and we culture them.
And this means providing the cells with this media, with liquid solution of nutrients that the cells typically are packed.
This is gonna be animal body, so we're talking about the proteins, the sugars, the vitamins, so everything that the cells typically need to proliferate.
And then this small number that we started with will proliferate, expand to the large numbers that we need to produce a meat product.
And when you think about conventional meat, we're talking about muscle cells, about fat cells.
That's really what brings The flavor, the texture, the kind of consistency that we're looking into.
And that's also what we're reproducing here.
Growing all these different style types, mixing them together in the end.
So it is cruelty free?
It's cruelty free.
So if you're a vegan and you don't wanna harm an animal, but you do miss meat, you would potentially be able to eat this product?
Exactly, yeah, it really depends on the reasons why you stopped eating meat
If animal cruelty was one of them, then certainly, I think you could be onboard to eat this type of product.
And we hope people do that.
So we're starting with more of a minced product like a chicken nugget.
How long will it take before we can get a fully cultured Chicken, something growing from cell to a full leg of chicken or a chicken breast, something like that.
Yeah I think that's probably within the next five years I'd say.
We know how to do it, we know there's a couple of strategies that we have planned for that, but for now we're focused on ground meat.
To grow a good quality mate, you need to start with good quality cells.
To help out, I put on my lab coat and start inspecting.
So here, you're going to be looking at some of our isolations from wagyu.
Yes, so very early stage Aged some.
Right, so let's take a look.
Well you see some cells that look a lot like muscle cells.
Elevated, very stretched.
From [UNKNOWN] to chicken, to like your just regular beef, they all look different.
And you have to really know what makes a good cell versus a not so viable cell right?
They all look different.
Yeah, they'll look a little bit different, especially when you're considering, for instance, a muscle cell in comparison with a fat cell.
All that science is making me hungry, so I head up to the test kitchen.
I can hear the sizzle on that, that sounds really appetizing [LAUGH].
And how has the taste and the texture evolved since the very first kind of prototyped, cultured nugget?
Well the great part is, is that cultured chicken itself brings a lot of flavor.
So flavor wise, we were always kinda in a good spot.
But texturally, it makes it a little bit difficult to get there.
From the beginning, we had a lot of prototypes we didn't like.
But like anything You have to put a few swings on it before you get to where you wanna get to.
As you see, looks like every chicken nugget you would be accustomed to.
That looks like a regular chicken nugget.
I can smell it.
I can smell the breading.
In the fry on that.
All right, moment of truth, let's eat this.
Mm, it takes like a chicken nugget.
The consistency is good, mm-hm.
And it has the same kind of slightly mushy texture when you bite into it.
The breading is great, yeah absolutely tastes like a chicken nugget, cuz it is a chicken nugget right?
Cuz it is a chicken nugget.
It's real chicken, it's actually chicken.
It's cultured chicken, and it tastes like the real deal.
Can I have a whole bucket of this please?
They're really good.
I mean, I could eat this all day, seriously.
It doesn't necessarily look like chicken inside.
Yeah, but we're getting there, so.
Not yet, yeah, and I don't think that really matters.
Because when you eat chicken nuggets, you're not really thinking about what it looks like inside.
No one's really inspecting it.
You're kind of like, what mystery meat is in that, right.
But it is, it's on our list of goals and things that we're working on right now through different techniques Makes to change that work.
We constantly evolving and constantly try to make it better.
And that is definitely where we're going.
So I've seen it's gonna look exactly like the real dough, but it taste like the real dough.
Well, we wanna start with flavor.
If it's not delicious, then there's no point.
It's pretty good.
So what about the actual challenges.
That you have in terms of bringing a chicken nugget to market.
In the US, it's not approved yet, so we're hoping that it will happen pretty soon.
So it's going to be the regulatory framework.
It's gonna be shared between FDA and USDA.
But we're also working with other regulatory jurisdictions overseas.
Actually, the launch of the first chicken nuggets are gonna happen outside of the US in Asia.
So we're gonna start first with a few selected high-end restaurants.
And we're having, right now, the regulatory discussions with those agencies in different countries.
So you mention why U beef is the next project.
So how do you go about creating all of the cells that is required to give Why you that particular quality like the marbling and the muscle and fat content.
Yeah, so we're looking at exactly those specific cell types and we're trying to recobitulate the quality of those.
We know that by isolating the cells from the best cows, We can also generate the best cells and then our product development team, our team of chefs, really play a major role in this.
because where the scientists developed the role of biology behind it, but then they are really the ones that can really assemble everything together and come up with the ideal ratios.
Cell types that we can use in the eggs.
I just ate a cultured chicken nugget, and I really, really liked it.
And maybe one day we'll see it in packaging with other sort of meat products just like this.
So expect to see the chicken nugget in the asian market later on this year.
Thanks so much for watching Beta Test.
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See you later!
Keep eating it.
Yeah, just keep going.
I'm trying to take tiny bites, so we can make it last longer.
Cuz I only have one.
Mm, that is good.