Chicken or beef? Ask the laboratory

Two South African companies have made headlines recently with successful developments in the worldwide quest for cultivated meat.

Not far from Johannesburg, the Mogale Meat Company has created its first cell-based chicken product cultivated by cell technology.

The company has been working for the past eight months to produce cultivated chicken breasts to compete in the global US$15 million “Feed the next billion” competition. They also intend producing cultivated wildlife venison.

And in Cape Town, the Mzansi Meat Company has produced Africa’s first lab-made beef burger patties.

“The feedback we got was that people were blown away by what they were eating,” said co-founder Brett Thompson. “It tastes just like [conventional] meat. At the end of the day, that’s all we were trying to do.”

In years to come, cultivated meat, and plant-based food, may be another way to help alleviate poverty and malnutrition in South Africa and elsewhere.