[imagesource: Mzansi Meat Co.]
Somewhere beyond the boerewors curtain and smell of braaivleis, are a couple of lionhearted food and bio-technologists trying to make lab-grown meat a thing in Mzansi.
Before you tut-tut, the stuff they’ve made apparently tastes and feels just like meat, because it is, except it didn’t come from a slaughtered animal.
Rather, it came from a petri dish in a lab in Woodstock, Cape Town.
To be more technical, scientists take cell proteins from cows and grow them in bioreactors in the laboratory.
Mzansi Meat Co. co-founder Brett Thompson describes it as meat that has the flavourful consistency of real meat without the guilt of rearing cows, per Business Insider SA:
Thompson, along with co-founder Jay van der Walt, started Mzansi Meat Co. in 2019 with the hopes of seeing more Saffas eat more sustainable food, reported Forbes Africa:
“It’s kind of an odd combination of trying to do something that’s so revolutionary, but it’s also at least 10,000 years old,” says Thompson.
“We are trying to take a cell that was nothing to a place that somebody can go out and eat it.”
There are meat cultivation companies in America, Europe, Israel, and now South Africa, too, with Mzansi Meat being the first on the African continent:
“People are starting to see that biotechnology, food technology… can put South Africa on the map… There’s this perception that this is only happening overseas,” says Thompson. “No. We’ve done it.”
Thompson, a vegetarian for the past 15 years who has tasted a few of the cultivated meat prototypes out there, is proud to call his creation something like meat:
“To really go out and just bite a burger, that just reminded me of when I used to stand at the braai (barbeque)… I’m trying to capture what that might feel like for a lot of people, who worry that if they stop eating conventional meats they might miss out.”
The lab-grown meat has the right aroma, the fatty sizzle, and the umami mouthfeel:
“The feedback we got was that was that people were blown away by what they were eating,” says Thompson. “It tastes just like [conventional] meat. At the end of the day, that’s all we were trying to do.”
The third co-founder, Tasneem Karodia, mentioned that the start-up is working on plans to scale up and move into a pilot production facility as well as a rollout plan with retailers and restaurant partners:
This will hopefully lend a hand to tackling the world’s growing need for food, as well as the heavy toll raising cattle takes on our land and carbon footprint.
[imagesource:jankopriva] Somewhere in your city, there are people experiencing gratific...
[imagesource:wikimediacommons] There's honestly so much to unpack in this short but inc...
[imagesource:facebook/amorvittone] It's been six years since the country shared Amor an...
[imagesource:facebook/mi7nationalgroup] Look, the effort is appreciated, the energy is ...
[imagesource:twitter/goodmorningamerica] 20-year-old Grant Brace died on 31 August 2020...