Photograph to illustrate a story in Health on efforts to actually grow meat in a lab. known as ' In vitro meat' , also known as laboratory–grown meat. In recent years, some scientists are experimentally growing in vitro meat in laboratories.  (Photo by Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
How Lab-Grown Animal Fat Could Make Plant-Based Meat Better
By Elias Nash
When plant-based alternatives arrived on the scene in the 2010s, brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods made it seem like that was the future of eating. Despite large sales early on, 2022 showed a rapid decline in purchasing, perhaps due to inflation or the fact that it still doesn’t taste quite the same as real meat.
Flavor and texture have been the biggest hangups for these plant-based alternatives, and it all comes down to using plant-based oils to fill the place of fat. While animal fats are solid at room temperature, plant oils tend to be liquids, causing plant-based protein options to become greasy when cooked.
However, combining plant-based protein with lab-grown animal fat could create a much more accurate meat simulation. Instead of slaughtering livestock, producers collect cell samples from living animals and place them in a bioreactor, feeding them with plant-based proteins and sugars so that they multiply and grow indefinitely.
Lab-grown fat could be commercially available much sooner than lab-grown meat, and mixing that with plant-based protein would be the quickest solution to improve its taste and texture. As the origins of the cells are animal-based, there is an ethical quandary for vegans and vegetarians, but this could sway die-hard carnivores to adopt a plant-based lifestyle.