Many founders in this industry hope that cell ag will completely replace conventionally-grown meat. And it may--one day. But a few things have to happen first. Consumer adoption, or really, consumer understanding of what the heck cellular agriculture is and why it’s crucial, is paramount for this industry to survive. As a food anthropologist, I can tell you that most people I talk to have zero clear knowledge of this industry. We need more test kitchens, more infographics, and more TikTok personalities to explain why this new technology is better for the planet and future. People need to understand that this is not GMO or a veggie burger. Before price parity can exist fully and before companies operate at scale, the world needs to warm up to the idea of cell-based agriculture so that there is an audience willing to pay for it.
Take the plant-based meat and dairy industries as an example. There are tons of new plant-based products. These companies fought significant regulatory, lobbyist, and even naming hurdles to get to their tiny little section in the grocery store. Cellular agriculture companies should use the plant-based protein industry as a shining example of how to tell a rich, clear, compelling story for consumers while navigating all of the interests and industries trying to hold them back.
Cellular agriculture is not just a novel food or a space-age technology--it represents the reframing of an indispensable industry. As noted by George Peppou
--founder of Vow Food
--cellular agriculture represents “a paradigm shift in manufacturing that will enable products we can only dream of today.” Cellular agriculture is likely not going to replace conventionally-grown meat in my lifetime completely. But if consumer adoption is positive, in the future, there may be less land used for agriculture, fewer animals slaughtered, enough protein to support our growing population, and healthier cuts of meat with no additives, hormones, or antibiotics. And that’s a win to me.