Adam Smith Institute: Lab Grown Meat, The Future?


The Adam Smith Institute has suggested large scale production of lab created meat protein could create a more sustainable and nutritious food source than current food production methods.

The Westminster based think tank suggests that the greenhouse gasses could be reduced by nearly 96% and free up 99% of farming land currently used to rear livestock.

As of 2018 lab grown meats are not commercially available but could be put into production by the end of this year.

The process involves taking cells from animals and cultivating the protein into an edible meat product:

  • “Demand for meat has grown along with incomes. During the 1960s meat consumption in East Asia stood at just 8.7kg per person, thirty year later that figure was 37.7kg – an increase of over 330%. This increased demand has meant huge swathes of land given over to meat production. While 19 people can be fed from just a single hectare of rice, only one can person can be fed per hectare dedicated to cattle.
  • Lab grown (or cultured) meat could mean a cut in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions of 78-96% while using 99% less land. 
  • While growing meat in a lab has been difficult to master, and costly to engineer, the price has been falling. Just five years ago the cost of a burger made with meat grown in a lab stood at $250,000, but now the price tag has dropped to just £8. 
  • Cultured meat has the potential to solve the looming antibiotic resistance crisis. With farming using up to 70% of antibiotics critical to medical use in humans, cases of resistance are on the rise, driven by intensive farming practices.
  • Cultured meat will also reduce cases of food poisoning as, unlike on farms, growth takes place under controlled conditions.”

Dr Madsen Pirie (also of this Parish) told Sky News this morning:

“We can produce the same amount of meat in factories on 1% of the land it presently takes us to do it”

“It’s sustainable, environmentally friendly, we don’t have to cut down rainforests to plant crops to feed animals if you’re growing it in factories.”

You can read the Adam Smith Institutes report co-authored by Jamie Hollywood and Dr. Madsen Pirie here