Peter Thiel, billionaire tech investor, entrepreneur, and co-founder of PayPal, is investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Modern Meadow, a Missouri-based company that aims to make 3D-printed meat. Yes, that sounds pretty bizarre – but considering Thiel has invested money in Paypal and Facebook, two companies that are now worth billions, itâ€™s possible that this company and its products could become successful.
The company specializes in lab-grown steaks, an animal-friendly and sustainable alternative to steak from a cow. The goal is to produce a delicious tasting, guilt-free meat product through 3D bioprinting, which layers various mixtures of cells in a very specific structure. This sounds like something out of a 1980s weird science movie, but Modern Meadow is already working toward a goal of printing a few small cuts of the meat, which will be less than a millimeter thick and about two centimeters by one centimeter in size.
If youâ€™re a vegetarian and really miss the flavor of meat, this may be your chance to grub on a steak without dealing with the guilt or unhealthy side effects. Aside from that, there are also plenty of environmental benefits associated with this. In the words of Modern Meadow co-founder Andras Forgacs, the amount of resources used just to make a simple hamburger creates an â€œenvironmental train wreck.â€ These 3D-printed steaks would lessen the intensity of the effects of conventionally raised cattle such as methane gas, excessive land use, and food grown for feed.
Theyâ€™re certainly onto something that could be very beneficial health and environment-wise, but Iâ€™m still not sure how I feel about eating lab-grown meat that comes from a printer. Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™d try it out of pure curiosity. Would you?
Image CC licensed by tarale Steak (not lab-grown)