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East Bay Food-Tech Startup Creates Lab-Grown Chicken

SAN LEANDRO (KPIX 5) -- Chickens may no longer need to cross the road before they end up on your dinner plate. Instead of coming from a farm, a Bay Area startup is developing the futuristic meat in a lab.

San Leandro-based food-tech company Memphis Meats says it has created the world's first chicken strip grown in a lab.

They claim it looks and tastes exactly like the real thing.

Because it is; sort of.

While it may not be apparent to the naked eye, the chicken produced by the company was created in a stainless steel bioreactor.

"We're talking about real meat that's grown from meat cells, whether it's a pig or a cow or a chicken," said Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valetti.

KPIX 5 first spoke with Valetti at a bio-tech expo last year where the company unveiled their selection of lab-grown meatballs.

Now the company says it has successfully added chicken to the menu.

"We wanted to first make meat that's delicious and better for us," said Valetti. "Also, it's better for the environment and the animals."

But don't expect lab-grown chicken to be available at the grocery store anytime soon.

Memphis Meats says they're still five years away from market.

And there company is also dealing with the challenge of production costs. A pound of lab-grown chicken costs more than $9,000 compared to around $3 for the old-fashioned, farm-produced kind.

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