Producers Can’t Agree on What to Call Next Wave of Meat Products

The term "lab-grown meat" is no longer completely accurate

Producers Can't Agree on What to Call Next Wave of Meat Products
Efforts to actually grow meat in a lab are known as "In vitro meat." (Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times via Getty)
Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

With a variety of meat alternative startups hoping to bring their products to market sooner rather than later, producers are divided on what to call what it is they’ll actually be selling.

Startups such as JUST, Memphis Meats, Aleph Farms and Finless Foods will be selling meat products that are grown by scientists instead of harvested from animals. Though these sort of products used to be called lab-grown meat, that term is no longer completely accurate as the meat will be created at standard food processing facilities, not in a lab.

Other naming options that have been floated include cell-cultured meat, motherless meat, cell-based meat and in vitro meat, but none of those are quite right, according to Quartz.

The naming issue may seem like relatively small potatoes as long as the products are good, but some people within the space are concerned that the lack of an official name will lead to confusion.

“I do think it matters quite a lot because we know what a food is called has an impact on whether people will want to buy it or not,” Paul Shapiro, founder of the Better Meat Company, told Quartz. “I’m one of the people who thinks this really does matter.”

No matter what term the industry ultimately decides on, it could be an issue as farming industry groups have persuaded legislators in more than a dozen states to introduce laws that would make it illegal to use the word “meat” to describe food that is grown in labs, according to a New York Times report from February. 

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