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‘Just like meaty sausages!’ EU hosts first cultivated meat tasting

‘Just like meaty sausages!’ EU hosts first cultivated meat tasting

Dutch startup Meatable has hosted the first legally approved tasting of cultivated meat in Europe.

On the menu was a lab-grown pork sausage. Meatable says the produce is “indistinguishable” from traditional meat, but causes no harm to animals or the environment.

To replicate the flavours and textures of livestock, Meatable first extracts a single cell sample from a pig. The sample is then cultivated in a bioreactor. Over time, the sample multiplies and forms real muscle tissue, which is shaped into a familiar meat form.

In Europe, however, no one was previously allowed to eat the output. That changed when the Dutch government gave Meatable the rubber stamp.

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The inaugural tasting took place at the company’s headquarters in Leiden. Among the diners were Dutch prince Constantijn van Oranje, Michelin-starred chef Ron Blaauw, and entrepreneur Ira van Eelen, whose father Willem filed the first patent for cultivated meat.

Their reaction “was really positive,” said Meatable co-founder and CTO Krijn de Nood.

“We will be liaising with the tasters from today to understand their feedback,” he told TNW.

That feedback will inform the future product development. It will also contribute to Meatable’s application to sell the sausages in the EU. But the first target market is Singapore.

The cultivated meat market

Meatable plans to launch its pork products next year in Singapore. The country wants cultivated meat to reduce its reliance on imports, which comprise 90% of its current food supplies. In 2020, the city-state issued the world’s first approval for sales of lab-grown meat.

The next target for Meatable is the US, which last year became the second country to permit the sales.

Europe has been slower to embrace the produce. But the event in Leiden suggests support for cultivated meat is growing.

According to de Nood, the tasting was “an important first step” towards the market. But did the flavours live up to the hype?

“It tasted just like meaty sausages do!” de Nood said.

If all goes to plan, those sausages could be a mere entree on the menu. A German startup wants to offer lab-grown fish as a main course. We can only imagine what’s cultivating for dessert.

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