Startup Memphis Meats announced in April that it had for the first time grown chicken meat in a lab, the firm admitted that the achievement came at a cost of $9,000 per pound. Memphis Meats puts living animal cells into bioreactor tanks and feeds them oxygen, sugars, and minerals until they divide and grow. The company said the taste and texture is similar to that of the real thing, just a bit spongier, according to the Wall Street Journal. Although the company has served it’s cultured poultry to taste testers, the meat is still extremely expensive. It currently costs around $9,000 to produce a pound of Memphis Meats’ poultry, compared to a bit over $3 on average for a pound of chicken breast. However, the company hopes to reduce costs drastically as it refines its technology over the next few years. It hopes to launch a commercial product in 2021.
Business leaders like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Kimbal Musk have joined food industry giants like Cargill and venture capital firms in backing the startup with $17 million in a Series A round of funding. In total Memphis Meats has raised $22 million.