Sydney, Australia-based startup VOW Foods recently developed the world’s first lab-grown kangaroo meat—an animal product consumed locally. Founder Tim Noakesmith and George Peppou created the meat using an almond-sized animal biopsy that is grown in a cultivator supported by a nutrient-dense medium. The process—used by other cell-based companies worldwide—yield ground kangaroo meat and cell lines that can thrive for a century or more without the need to input new animal cells. While VOW has developed ground meat, the founders believe that new 3D technologies would make it possible to create steaks and other shapes of meat in the future. “We’ve reached the scale capacity in terms of creating food using traditional animal agriculture and we see that meat consumption is going to be rising and rising over coming decades,” Noakesmith told local media outlet 9News. “We see this as a solution to the problems that are going to arise from the need to meet the demands of those markets.” To overcome what the founders call the “ick factor” of lab-grown meat, they hope potential customers understand that creating meat in a lab is similar to propagating a plant. “I think the best way to think about it is the same way we cultivate plants, you take a clipping from a plant [and] you cultivate it in a nutrient rich environment where its very much the same as where it was before, and it continues to grow more plants of its kind—we’re doing exactly the same thing with cells,” Noakesmith said. VOW—which received a $25,000 grant from the New South Wales government—is awaiting approval from food authorities and aims to get its kangaroo meat to market by 2022. Earlier this month, VOW showcased a trio of dumplings filled with its lab-grown kangaroo meat at a school cafeteria in Sydney.
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