Andras Forgacs is the CEO of Modern Meadow, a company that is working on 3D printing meat. Modern Meadow is funded, in part, by PayPal founder and libertarian pet projects funder Peter Thiel.
Forgacs popped up on Reddit today to answer questions. He describes his venture as having "a certain transhumanist element," and says it "is as much about minimizing animal suffering as it is about mitigating the environmental impacts." His previous company was Organovo, which was developing 3D printed human organs for transplant. He says: "We figured, if we can make medical grade tissues then we can also make muscle for meat and hide for leather."
Some highlights from his AMA:
Q: How do you expect pricing to develop? Looking for an answer like: First production: limited distribution, $100/kg First large grocery chain adoption: $40/kg Replaced all animal-meat in the world: $0.01/kg
A: On pricing, I can't give you too much detail since we still don't fully know the answers. Currently, we are only making a couple ounces at a time so price is meaningless at such a small scale. We anticipate getting to limited production at something around $100/lb but hopefully less. By the time this scales to grocery stores, it should be more affordable at $30/lb or less. These are just rough figures since a lot will change as our approach evolves.
And this honest answer:
Q: Does it taste the same as regular meat?
A: I've tasted it as have my colleagues. We've only been able to have small bites since we're still working on getting the process right.
I cooked some pieces in olive oil and ate some with and without salt and pepper. Not bad. The taste is good but not yet fully like meat. We have yet to get the fat content right and other elements that influence taste. This process will be iterative and involve us working closely with our consulting chefs.
There is this sad news, though:
As we achieve the right proof of concept with beef, we may branch out to other types of high value and environmentally taxing meats as well such as pork, blue-fin tuna, etc.
Human meat is not on the menu. Sorry.
Skip to the 5:30 mark in this video to see Andras' dad and co-founder eat a small sample of the company's product:
Also highly relevant, today's Reason TV video: It's Hard to Gross Out a Libertarian: Jonathan Haidt on How Our Tolerance for Disgust Determines Our Politics