Outpricing the Norm

Most readily agree that beef tastes good. There’s something about it that makes it so appealing, be it the taste, the color, or that oddly and inexplicably satisfying sizzling sound that you get when you put it on the grill. It’s also very versatile––you can have it as a steak, put in a burger, or just eat it raw. For a non-vegetarian, there’s not much to dislike about it. Editor’s note: Please do not consume raw beef. It will make your tummy hurt. The author of this article seems to be somewhat mentally unhinged.

But there’s one small problem with good old beef: it’s largely unethical. We’re all aware that cows are bred for the very purpose of death, kept in ludicrously minute pens and isolated from their family in the meantime. That’s why several corporations have taken it upon themselves to create “fake” beef––beef that tastes like beef, but beef that isn’t actually beef. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it makes sense, trust me. And yes, this “fake” beef comes most commonly as a veggie-based alternative. There is, however, an alternative to the alternative: lab-grown beef. And luckily enough, it’s predicted to get very––emphasis on the very––cheap.

A report conducted by Dutch consultancy CE Delft analyzed “the economic and environmental costs of conventional and cultivated beef production,” and it found that within 9 years (2030), the cost of produce a kilogram of cultivated (lab-grown) beef will go all the way down to $5.66––and the cost of regular beef $6.2. This price is expected to attract many more meat-lovers to the cultivated kind, since it’ll be cheaper, taste exactly the same, and make that heartwarming sizzling sound every time.

Lab-grown beef will also have much better effects on the environment. Several studies have indicated that “cultivated beef in 2030 will be about 90 percent more environmentally friendly than conventional beef, emitting 93 percent fewer greenhouse gases and using 95 percent less land for nutrient production.” And by less land, we would be freeing up an area the size of North America.

And that’s a lot of land.

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