The expression “developed in the laboratory” is quickly catching up with brands. In the process, they are innovating new ways of producing products like meat, leather, diamonds and, more recently, caviar in the lab. Yes, you read that right. The world’s first laboratory caviar will be produced by Exmoor Caviar (in Devon, England), which has produced sustainable sturgeon caviar and has resonated well with Michelin-starred chefs for over a decade. He is working with renowned scientists from UK universities to grow eggs using cells derived from fish.
Kenneth Benning, managing director of Exmoor Caviar, told UK website iNews about his plans, including the use of biotechnology to grow cells, the use of proteins and lipids derived from fish. He also talked about wanting to bring the caviar to the 2023 European Seafood Show in Brussels. If they are successful, a new type of animal-free caviar will be made possible, as the product is intended for the ethical and cruelty-free food market. As a farmer himself, Benning realizes the importance of this and, in a way, his experimentation will revolutionize the luxury caviar market.
Considered the most expensive foodie attraction and a favorite of many chefs, caviar is made from eggs harvested from fish (salmon, sturgeon, trout) that are salted. It has high production cost and low efficiency. It came from the diets of the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and was later harvested by Russian and Persian fishermen in the Caspian Sea.
There are many types of caviar variations available in the market. A vegan variation, which is quite smooth and has a sparkling texture, is seaweed caviar – a plant-based food with no animal ingredients. It can easily replace different eggs including rose lumpfish, trout roe, salmon roe, and cod roe. Its real taste and texture comes from seaweed, a large multicellular algae, and a protein source packed with umami flavor.
Not just caviar, there are also other products that come out of the lab. English fashion designer Stella McCartney presented the world’s first Mylo mushroom leather clothing this year. Mylo is a soft and durable material. Unlike most synthetic leathers, it’s made from mycelium, the infinitely renewable underground root system of fungi, which grows best in a lab with mulch, air, and water. It is designed to have minimal environmental impact.
Lab-grown meat is also very popular because it aims to reduce the slaughter of animals for consumption and therefore claims to be ethical with environmental merits. Eat Just, a San Francisco-based company, describes its product as “real, high-quality meat created directly from animal cells for safe human consumption.” Another California-based company from Memphis Meats announced the construction of a new cell-based meat production facility last year.
Then there is OsomeFood, which goes beyond the vegan label to guarantee nutrition with food alternatives using mycoproteins and plant-based ingredients. This Singapore-based food manufacturer launched the world’s first plant-based, nutrition-focused hard-boiled egg for immunity and without harming animals.
According to a recent report published in The Guardian, dozens of companies are developing farmed chicken, beef and pork with a view to reducing the impact of factory farming on the climate, as well as providing more meat. clean, drug-free and cruelty-free. . Currently, around 130 million chickens and four million pigs are slaughtered for meat every day. By weight, 60% of the mammals on earth are cattle, 36% are humans and only 4% are wild.
The World Economic Forum reports that the environmental cost of growing appetite for meat is alarming. Agriculture is responsible for 10 to 12% of greenhouse gas emissions, meat, poultry and dairy farming producing nearly three quarters.
With sustainability being the need of the hour, there is a need to reduce excessive mining, land disturbance, carbon emissions and environmental damage. Therefore, lab-grown diamonds are also approved. The process is to create parts without mining and with environmentally friendly sourcing. Indian brand Vandals has its very first lab diamond jewelry retail outlet in Mumbai. Other brands like Limelight Diamonds and Anantaa Diamonds promise an alternative in the form of CVD diamonds, also known as chemical vapor deposition diamonds or artificial diamonds. These diamonds are cultivated in state of the art laboratories and do not involve human mining.