Cultured meat, better than beans?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Already in the 1970s, problems related to the production and consumption of meat led to pleas for decreasing consumption and replacing it with alternatives. Pulses seemed the obvious candidate, yet their consumption continued to go down, while global meat consumption continued to rise, and rapidly. Therefore, the leading assumption concerning meat alternatives became that only those alternatives that perfectly resemble meat stand a chance. Given that assumption, cultured meat, a meat alternative developed from animal cells, emerged as the ultimate solution, as it promised not just to resemble meat but to be meat. Yet plant-based meat alternatives also increasingly aim to be indistinguishable from meat. More generally, lines between different technologies and different cell sources are becoming blurred in the search for perfect imitations of animal products. This study on the case of cultured meat shows that the mere idea of cultured meat opens up discussions about ‘normal’ meat, in which widespread ambivalence about meat is explicitly acknowledged and new scenarios are explored. In the process, ‘normal’ meat comes to appear less normal. What cultured meat might mean as a realized solution remains uncertain; it depends on many unknowns. And what about the pulses, which are the most sustainable solution of all but have meanwhile become neglected crops?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Food Futures
Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary Solutions
EditorsJessica Duncan, Megan Bailey
ISBN (Electronic)9781315463131
ISBN (Print)9781138207004, 9781138206168
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment


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