In Vitro Meat – Week 1 Notes

I am going to become an expert on In Vitro Meat. I picked this topic out of a hat.

I went to the Future of Food Expo on Saturday with a mission: to talk to people about In Vitro Meat. Something that Nancy Nowacek mentioned really resonated with me: She said she doesn’t like cocktail parties for shallow small talk, but when she has a topic she is interested in, and other people might have the answer, then she gets into the conversations and is driven to go to these types of events. That’s exactly how I felt about the Future of Food Expo: normally, I would not really be that interested in going to an expo. But now that I have In Vitro Meat, I have a purpose.

There was not any in vitro meat at the expo, but there were a few interesting ideas about meat and the future of food in general.



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I met people from The Future Market. The Future Market asks “What could a grocery store and its products look like in the year 2065?”. They had an architect/design rendering of the space. They had a newspaper, The Studio Sentinal, published on Sept 13-14 2065 with headlines like Gross Domestic Happinnes At All Time High Since 2043. And they had samples of a product that were packaged like Wheat Thins, but made with different types of grains in a process they wanted to advocate called Crop Rotation that embraces the diversity of crops rather than homogenizing them into Regular Wheat Thins. It’s a project that verges on critical design, a “food design and innovation agency” called Studio Industries. “We are a group of food innovators, designers, scientists, marketers and entrepreneurs passionate about steering the world toward a better – food future.” Interestingly, like Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, they do not describe their work as “art.”

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The Future Market said they are intrigued by In Vitro Meat as a way to re-imagine what protein is. They suggested I check out Food Tech Connect magazine, and Beyond Meat in California. They also suggested checking out Hampton Creek Foods and their product Just Mayo, because they work with a plant-like egg powder called Beyond Eggs rather than real eggs. Keywords are Health, Taste, Sustainability for the world and Accessibility: “good food should be accessible to everyone.” But what is “good?” I told Emily from the Future Market that I was conducting research for an art/design class, and she also recommended I check out the textile butchery work of Aufschnitt Berlin, who create stuffed sausages out of fabric and cloth, exhibited at the Paris 2014 Maison & Objet furniture and interior design festival. I found a link here and will dig in more soon.

In general, the Future Market is against processed foods like soy, and against trying to emulate meat, but think that new types of foods shoudl instead be used to re-imagine what food can be, especially with something like meat which to them, in the end, is just protein/nutritional value.

The farmtopeople.com booth caught my eye because they had snack bars made out of real meat. The meat was all grass fed, organic, raised by small farms. They also had snack bars made out of crickets, because crickets have good protein/nutritional value. These foods are available on their website. I asked Mike from Farm To People if the website he helped found would carry in vitro meat bars. He seems opposed to the idea, because it’s not really meat, and it isn’t produced by farms. He told me that when you eat one of these snack bars from a 100% grass fed cow, you can taste and feel the difference psychologically. With in vitro meat, it’s not a living being, and it just won’t be the same. Admittedly he was not very up on the latest trends in in vitro meat (and neither am I yet) but he was intrigued by the sustainability factor, even if it doesn’t make sense for his website which is about Food • Lifestyle • Gifts and “small-batch handcrafted goods”.

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So I decided to eat these meat bars and the cricket bar, and document the process…

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Some more interesting In Vitro projects:

In Vitro Meat Cookbook

In Vitro Meat Habitat

I think that my Call will be to design a booth for an event like Future of Food. I’m really inspired by The Future Market’s interactive experience that included cross-disciplinary research and actual food that you could taste, packaged and placed in a setting that really felt like the future. Another possibility is an organization like PETA might hold a contest like this one.

Call: The Future of Food Expo is a showcase of the most innovating tastes and ideas in food. From new technology and startups to food nonprofits, B2B and media organizations, the booths will provide an interactive peak into the future of food. The expo is free and open to the public. It will be held in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in conjunction with the Taste Talks festival. Taste Talks showcases the culinary cutting edge for a food-obsessed generation through symposiums, workshops and discussions. Click here to propose a Taste Talks workshop or to buy a booth at the Future of Food.

Taxonomy:

Meat – animal products that can be eaten, muscle, fat, beef, poultry, fish
Jon F. Vein – holds US patent for the production of tissue engineered meat for human consumption
Life – is in vitro meat “alive” ?
Sustainable – 1. for the Earth / environment 2. for biology / species other than humans 3. for humans 4. sustenance
Artificial / Synthetic
Accessibility
Psychology – “you are what you eat”
fetal calf serum
Religion, Kosher, Halal
Tissue
Culture –
Meat Culture

 

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