Cultured Meat: Promises and Challenges

Environ Resour Econ (Dordr). 2021;79(1):33-61. doi: 10.1007/s10640-021-00551-3. Epub 2021 Mar 19.


Cultured meat involves producing meat from animal cells, not from slaughtered animals. This innovation has the potential to revolutionize the meat industry, with wide implications for the environment, health and animal welfare. The main purpose of this paper is to stimulate some economic research on cultured meat. In particular, this paper includes a prospective discussion on the demand and supply of cultured meat. It also discusses some early results on the environmental impacts of cultured meat, emphasizing the promises (e.g., regarding the reduction in land use) but also the uncertainties. It then argues that cultured meat is a moral improvement compared to conventional meat. Finally, it discusses some regulatory issues, and the need for more public support to the innovation.

Keywords: Animal welfare; Climate change; Cultured meat; Food innovation; Land use; Meat; Meat consumption; Meat production; Pollution; Regulation.