With global food shortages set to get worse over the course of the next few decades, researchers are frantically looking at ways to provide for the world’s ever increasing population.
One group of scientists are looking into a particularly disturbing way of creating meat, and have received the backing of one of the tech industry’s most colourful figures. Modern Meadow, a US start-up, is looking at ways to manufacture cuts of meat through three-dimensional bio-printing, and believe that with additional funding and research could lead to significant breakthroughs in curing world hunger.
Peter Thiel, the founder of online payment system Paypal and a board member at Facebook, believes they may be right, and has pumped over $250,000 into the company through his Thiel Foundation. In a statement, the foundation said: “Modern Meadow is developing a fundamentally new approach to meat and leather production that is based on the latest advances in tissue engineering and causes no harm to animals.”
Through their Breakout Labs initiative to look for the latest technological innovations, Thiel’s organisation has stepped in to help Modern Meadows, as other investors seem cautious. The start-ups Andras Forgacs said: “Breakout Labs is a much-needed source of funding and support for emerging technologies like ours. Investors across the board have become more risk-averse and yet early funding is critical to enable truly innovative ideas.”
Lindy Fishburne, a director at Breakout Labs, added: “Modern Meadow is combining regenerative medicine with 3D printing to imagine an economic and compassionate solution to a global problem.”
Food prices have continued to rise around the world, as droughts affect crops in the US and demand grows in emerging countries. While something clearly needs to be done to address the issues of food shortages, persuading consumers to eat synthetic meat might be a particularly hard sell.