While cell-cultured meat or dairy has been touted as a way to feed the masses, brands are starting to embrace cell-cultured creations for a luxury dining experience.

In 2013, the first lab-grown hamburger was eaten at a conference in London—but it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce. Since then, the number of companies developing meat grown in a lab has exploded. In 2021, almost a billion dollars was invested in cell-cultured meat start-ups around the world, according to Crunchbase. Much of this investment will go to companies looking to develop chicken, beef and fish, all for a reasonable price. However, some start-ups are looking to the luxury food market, aiming to make meat alternatives not only sustainable but indulgent, too.

WEB UF Dominique Crenn
Upside Food partnership with Dominique Crenn

California-based Upside Foods, known mainly for the development of their cell-cultured chicken, has ventured into the high-end game with their purchase of Cultured Decadence in January 2022. Lobster will now be on the menu as Upside Foods aims to expand their acquisition’s technology and capabilities. Clearly targeting the luxury consumer, Upside Foods also announced a partnership with Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn in 2021 to add cultivated chicken to her menu, once regulations allow cultured meat to be sold in the US.

Tackling the expensive delicacy caviar, Magiccaviar is being developed by Wageningen University & Research and Dutch start-up Geneusbiotech. Using cells taken from beluga and sterlet sturgeons, the fish roe product is just one of the luxury items Geneusbiotech is focusing on. The company has also recently announced their cell-based fur called Furoid.

In Japan, researchers at Osaka University are combining 3D printing and cell-cultured technology to create cultivated Wagyu beef—even mimicking all the fat striations of the traditional product. By using 3D printing, the scientists claim they are also able to tailor each piece to personal fat and taste preferences.

While still only legal to be sold to consumers in Singapore, other countries are making moves towards allowing cell-cultured meat. There are many issues that cell-cultured foods aim to tackle—sustainability, transparency and food shortages to name a few—but as we noted in our Haute Veganism trend from "The Future 100: 2022," high-end dining experiences are the next evolution when it comes to changing consumer attitudes around climate-friendly dining.

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