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Meat lovers who have ever tasted 'vegetarian bacon' will conclude that in a sustainable plant-based society it will be inevitable to say goodbye to certain flavors. Unless fake is made real, too.
Editorial office / Berkeley

That works – at the moment – if real meat can be grown in the lab in an animal-friendly way. So based on real animal cells, but grown in a bioreactor. That is what various initiatives are working on. Such as the Dutch companies Meatable from Delft and Mosa Meat from Maastricht. Unfortunately, this ‘cultured meat’ is still extremely expensive.

Biotechcompany Mission Barns from Berkeley, California, takes a different approach. This company succeeded in making hybrid bacon in the lab using animal fat from pig stem cells in combination with vegetable proteins. The process needs only 20% of the land used of traditional pig farming, 4% of the water use and 26% of the greenhouse gas emissions. This solution thus fits in with the protein transition, but it also raises ethical and religious questions: will it finally be possible to enjoy kosher or halal bacon in the near future?

To demonstrate that the newfangled bacon can please gourmets, Mission Barns is testing its in vitro bacon this month in restaurants in California and Oakland, USA. If and when the hybrid bacon will be available in Europe is still unclear.

Image: Susan Schmitz/Shutterstock