To get an idea of how far cultivated meat is from reaching supermarket shelves and dinner tables, just take a look at the cost. Singapore-based Shiok Meats plans to launch its flagship cell-based shrimp in 18 months at about about R586 a kilogram. That’s an arm and a leg, so to speak. It’s also double the price of real prawns.
Finessing the technology and getting the cost to an affordable level is one of the biggest hurdles in turning cell-based meat into a mass consumer product. Nevertheless, a number of startups including Shiok Meats and California-based Eat Just Inc. are trying to get their products on the market soon, as consumers increasingly seek out alternative meats due in part to health and environmental concerns.
It will take another seven to 10 years for lab-grown meat to “be in every supermarket shelf and dinner table,” Sriram said. The technology involves producing proteins by growing cells instead of slaughtering animals.
And while the S$50 price tag is still expensive, it’s down from S$1,000 now and $10,000 about two years ago, Sriram said. “With economies of scale, we’re looking at a price point of S$5 to S$10 per kilogram in the next five to seven years.”