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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Dr. Pat Brown Criticizes Cell-Cultured Meat


In reports of an interview published in Plant Based News, Dr. Pat Brown, founder of Impossible Foods, Inc., pointed to the potential financial non-viability of cell-cultured meat, claiming high cost.  He also expressed the view, “That industry has been saying we are going to be on the grocery shelves next year for the past ten years and it is as far away as ever.”  He added, “It has zero percent chance of ever being competitive in the market.” 


Brown’s remarks belie the immense investment in cell-cultured meat with venture capital companies funding research, pilot plants and in some cases, production facilities.  Brown downplayed the recent investment of JBS SA in acquiring BioTech Foods, noting, “They don’t know the science and they don’t have any curiosity or imagination and they fall for the hype.”


In fairness, Dr. Brown has a dog-in-the-fight, since his company, Impossible Foods, is a leader in vegetable-based meat alternatives.  Impossible Foods is a privately held company that as yet has not released financial results. Postings by competitor, Beyond Meat and the plant-based subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods, suggests declining sales and consistent losses for plant-based substitutes for meat.


Brown points to the negatives associated with extensive beef production, including deforestation and emission of greenhouse gases.  He neglects to condemn the petrochemical industry that is a major emitter of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and more recently, disclosures of wide-scale methane release from wells and distribution installations. Attempting to justify vegetable-based meat alternative that are more expensive than the real product on sustainability appears to be a desperation response. His views on the future of cell-cultured meat have support from industry observers although this runs counter to the investments made by venture capital funds and public agencies. Time will tell for both producers of cell cultured meat and Impossible Foods and its competitors.


Copyright © 2022 Simon M. Shane