Myth: In-vitro meat is replacing conventionally raised beef.
The Facts: There is no substitute for real beef from cattle raised on a farm or ranch.
Cattlemen and women believe beef comes from cattle raised on a farm or ranch, not from a test tube. The recent test tube burger that made news was created from stem cells of a live beef animal that were cultured in a petri dish then mixed with salt, egg powder and breadcrumbs to improve the taste as well as red beetroot juice and saffron to make it look like red meat. While this is interesting research into alternative ways to grow protein, we do not see in-vitro meat or “fake meat” replacing real beef from cattle raised by farmers and ranchers for several reasons.
First, according to media reports, the test tube burger tasted “…somewhere between not bad, OK and decent… it has a very neutral flavor.” Whereas the majority of consumers that eat beef say taste is a primary reason they choose beef and that beef tastes great. Plus, in-vitro meat is very expensive—the first test-tube burger cost more than $300,000 and took more than five years to produce. Just think, if you invited five friends over for a barbeque you would pay $1,500,000 for hamburgers! The current average price for 1 lb. of ground beef is $3.50, which is just about $0.88 per serving (a serving is 4 oz raw/3 oz cooked.)
On top of great taste and affordability, U.S. farmers and ranchers are continuously improving the way beef is raised to ensure a sustainable beef supply that can help feed a growing world population. The beef industry completed a first-of-its-kind life cycle assessment (LCA) — certified by NSF International — that provides benchmarks on economic, environmental and social contributions in the United States and a roadmap for the journey toward more sustainable beef. After two years of data collection and research, the beef community has proven it’s on the right path forward with a 7 percent improvement in environmental and social sustainability from 2005 to 2011. As the global demand for meat increases, the beef industry is focused on a path of continuous improvement that includes using fewer natural resources, improving animal care and more in order to produce high-quality protein.
The beef community is committed to raising cattle responsibly to provide the United States and the world with great-tasting, nutritious beef. America’s farmers and ranchers are confident that you’ll enjoy real beef’s flavor, texture and cost.