Cutting through the haze of misfortune that 2020 has been shrouded in is a piece of good news that environmentalists and foodies in Singapore can finally revel in. Cultured chicken—meat that has been cultured and grown without the killing of a live chicken—is finally here, ready for you to eat.
Launching in a global first, this revolutionary product from food-science firm Eat Just is now exclusively available at Leonie’s restaurant housed in private social club 1880, after Eat Just received a regulatory approval grant to sell their cultured chicken bites commercially in Singapore under the brand GOOD Meat.
Now, patrons of Leonie’s will be the first in the world to try ethical chicken, served in the form of chicken bites (better known to most as the chicken nugget) and prepared in dishes like fried chicken and waffles or sesame chicken served atop a fluffy bao.
The restaurant is planning to feature a cultured chicken dish on its menu in 2021 for the price of a premium conventional chicken dish—an important detail, since according to Eat Just’s co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick, the goal is for ethical chicken to be the favourable and, ultimately, only option on the menu.
“This historic step moves us closer to a world where the majority of meat we eat will not require tearing down a single forest, displacing a single animal’s habitat or using a single drop of antibiotics,” Tetrick says.
At the helm of the dining experience is 1880’s Executive Chef Colin Buchan, who is working in partnership with Eat Just’s Director of Product Development Chef Nate Park to create delicious dishes using GOOD Meat’s new product. “This is very exciting—we are working with new ingredients, something very creative and something we’ve never quite seen before,” says Buchan.
The science behind ethical chicken
Just to be clear—cultured chicken is not mock or plant-based meat. GOOD Meat cultured chicken is real, high-quality chicken created directly from unmodified (non-GMO) animal cells that are cultivated in a bioreactor.
On GOOD Meat’s interactive site, the brand likens the bioreactor to a beer brewery, where conditions are kept safe and controlled in order to get the desired results from chosen ingredients. “We begin by sourcing a small quantity of animal cells from high-quality poultry or livestock,” the website states.
The next step involves feeding these cells with a host of nutrients necessary for an animal to grow and thrive—including carbohydrates, amino acids, fats, minerals and vitamins. These nutrients grow the cells into meat, and in this case, chicken that you wouldn’t be able to differentiate from the kind that comes from a slaughtered source. The nutritional composition of this product is also similar to that of conventional chicken sourced from a once-live animal.
What this means for health, animal welfare and sustainability
The global humbling of the past year has taught us that health is holistic—it encompasses our own well-being alongside our environment’s and that of other species we share the planet with. For years, mounting research has shown that animal agriculture at its present scale is unsustainable in the long run, due to widespread deforestation, carbon emissions and unethical animal welfare conditions associated with the industry.
A study published in Environmental Science & Technology shows that in comparison to conventionally produced European meat, cultured meat involves approximately 7–45 percent lower energy use, 78–96 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions, 99 percent lower land use, and 82–96 percent lower water use depending on the product compared.
“This historic step moves us closer to a world where the majority of meat we eat will not require tearing down a single forest, displacing a single animal’s habitat or using a single drop of antibiotics”
Conventional agriculture also has health implications for both human beings and animal. Poultry farming, for example, involves high doses of antibiotics used to sustain chickens in the cramped and uncomfortable conditions they are kept in (in the case of organic chickens, antibiotics are withheld, leading to plenty of suffering for chickens who are unable to get treatment for their illnesses). In the making of GOOD Meat’s cultured chicken, no antibiotics are used.
Eat Just’s humanely sourced chicken marks the first in what is hopefully a new generation of cultured meat products—satisfying and nutritious, without the ramifications of animal agriculture. As 1880 founder Marc Nicholson says: “This is a revolutionary step towards solving climate change and creating the opportunity to feed the world without overwhelming the planet.”
Learn more about Eat Just’s GOOD Meat cultured chicken at goodmeat.co