Cultivated Meat Passes Blind Taste Test With Flying Colours: ‘An Important Moment in the History of Humankind”
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Cultivated meat brand SuperMeat has held a blind taste testing event at its in-house Tel Aviv restaurant, The Chicken. Among the samplers was highly respected Israeli taster and Master Chef judge Michal Ansky. Highly confident in her ability to identify the real chicken, Ansky grows visibly less certain as the test progresses. She is eventually wrong in her selection—and delightedly so.
The taste test was simply formatted and professionally vetted. Lawyers remained on hand at all times to ensure no trickery to skew results in SuperMeat’s favour. Tasters were presented with two bowls, labelled A and B. The meat inside was sauteed in sunflower oil, without seasoning. The chef that prepared the dishes was not informed which product was conventional chicken.
After sampling from both bowls, Ansky was no closer to a decision. Eventually, the richer flavour of bowl A led her to stake her reputation that it was the real chicken. She was incorrect. SuperMeat founder Ido Savir gleefully told her that the one she selected had been made in the lab behind him, just metres away from where Ansky was sat.
In a video of the tasting, uploaded to YouTube by Supermeat, Ansky can be seen considering the implications of what has just happened. “This is a historical moment,” she says. Before allowing the gravity of the event to settle. She goes on to think about why the cultivated meat may have tasted better than the real thing. Surprisingly, she cited her vegan friends, saying “they tell me meat being slaughtered changes the taste because it holds violence and maybe it’s true.”
After composing herself, Ansky reveals that she’d love to do something interesting with the cultivated product, adding some spices and seasoning, because what she ate was ”just a paste; a pate” When asked which she would rather cook with and serve, she opted for SuperMeat. A huge coup for the company.
Debriefing with Time
Ansky spoke with Time about her experience. She confirmed that she was glad to be wrong because it represents that a necessary shift is happening. As a gastronome, she enjoys meat but has no appetite for the unsustainable way it is produced.
“It doesn’t stop at chicken,” she told Time. “It’s as important as finding a cure for cancer because the thing that causes global warming and puts our lives at risk on this planet is the food industry. When we change the production, when we go from factory farming and from bloody slaughterhouse floors to fluorescent lights in laboratories, we will really be having an impact.”
An answer to climate problems?
Cultivated meat is more than just scientific flexing. It has the scope to reduce animal agriculture-derived emissions. Together with dairy, meat production accounts for almost 15 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation. By transitioning to plant-based or animal slaughter-free foods, this figure could be drastically reduced, allowing for environmental reparations to begin in earnest.
Israel is quickly setting itself up as a pioneer in the cultivated sector. Despite no regulatory approval for commercial sales in place yet, developments are coming through thick and fast. We’ve predicted that the country will see approvals begin to trickle in this year.
At the end of last year, Israel’s Future Meat announced hopes of raising $320 million. The investment will be used to build a U.S. production facility ahead of anticipated food safety approvals. The company has been focussed on driving down production costs, managing to finally do so due to a lack of fetal bovine serum (FBS) in its methodology.
Elsewhere in the country, Aleph Farms revealed it had entered into an open supply chain agreement with Munich-based wacker. The two are working together to remove cost barriers to commercial cultivated meat manufacturing. The entire industry will be able to access any cost-effective growth mediums that the two create. Accelerated cost parity with conventional meat is the partnership’s driving motivation.
All Images courtesy of SuperMeat.