The majority of vegans support lab-grown meat, but only a quarter would go so far as to eat it, according to new research.
Lab-grown meat, also referred to as cultivated meat, cell-based meat, clean meat, cultured meat, and in-vitro meat, is artificially-grown animal meat that is produced by cultivating animal cells directly.
After cells are taken from a healthy animal, which isn’t killed in the process, they are placed in a large stainless-steel tank called a cultivator where it is fed nutrients until it divides and grows.
Half of the vegans (47 per cent) polled by Veggly, a dating app for vegans and vegetarians, said they wouldn’t eat cultivated meat but wanted it to succeed because it is better for the environment. Just 24 per cent said they would eat it.
Meanwhile, 29 per cent of vegans said they don’t support cultured meat, and wouldn’t eat it, according to the global survey.
An analysis by research and consultancy firm CE Delft concluded that cultivated meat can offer significant environmental gains compared to conventional meats such as beef, pork, and chicken.
The researchers stated: “Cultivated meat uses much less land compared to all conventional meats. It also has a much lower carbon footprint than beef and is comparable to current global average footprints for pork and chicken when produced using conventional energy.”
However, the report also found that the environmental impact of cultivated meat is largely driven by energy use, primarily electricity use during production itself.
Alex Felipelli, founder of Veggly, said: “You don’t have to eat cultured meat, but it’s worth supporting.
“The more momentum cultured meat gains, the less demand there will be for animal meat. Ultimately, we as vegans just want to save as many animal lives as possible and protect the planet – cultured meat is one of the new innovations that will help us achieve this, so it’s worth supporting or encouraging, even if we don’t want to eat it.
“Of course, there will be many different viewpoints in the vegan community on this issue, nothing will change that. But we need to understand the wider reality that anything that helps keep animals off plates is good thing for a vegan world and is more environmentally friendly.”