Are lab meats our future? Part 2

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. psychological / ˌsaɪ kəˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl / (adj.) – having no physical cause and existing only in one’s mind

    The doctor can’t find a reason for my pain, so he said it may be psychological.

  2. crave / kreɪv / (v.) – to strongly want something

    I’ve been craving pizza since yesterday.

  3. mitigation / ˌmɪt ɪˈgeɪ ʃən / (n.) – the act or process of making something less forceful, severe, etc.

    The new law will help in the mitigation of the harmful effects of coal mining on the environment.

  4. (something) aside / əˈsaɪd / (adv.) – not including something (in the statement that follows this)

    These minor issues aside, I think the event went well.

  5. carbon footprint / ˈkɑr bən ˈfʊtˌprɪnt / (n.) – the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that an individual, product, group, etc. produces

    Recycling and reusing products can reduce a person’s carbon footprint.


Read the text below.

Continued from Part 1…

For the good of the planet and our health, it would definitely help to eat less meat. But many people I know say they would rather eat vegetables than pay premium prices for plant-based meat or lab-grown meat.

I’ve tried Impossible Burger and I feel the same. While the texture was not unlike real meat, I somehow felt dissatisfied. It might have been psychological, but I found myself craving a regular burger, or simply a vegetarian meal made with natural ingredients.

I have no doubt that adopting a plant-based diet is good for the environment. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, balanced diets featuring plant-based and sustainably produced animal-sourced food “present major opportunities for adaptation and mitigation while generating significant co-benefits in terms of human health.”

Taste aside, I have my doubts about whether lab-grown and plant-based meats are truly better alternatives. These products rely on advanced technologies and possibly expensive labs and processes, all of which would translate to a significant carbon footprint. In the interest of sustainability, perhaps we could focus on eating more real plant foods. If we do have to eat meat, we could choose meat that comes from farms with low-impact farming practices. Lab-grown meat and plant-based meat are not the only choices. (Tan Ying Zhen)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The author says that even though the texture of Impossible Burger was similar to real meat, she felt dissatisfied and craved a regular burger. Do you agree that the author’s dissatisfaction was likely psychological? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • If you were secretly given a lab-grown or plant-based burger, do you think you would know it wasn’t real meat? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Which do you think will be more popular in the future, lab-grown meat or plant-based meat? Why? Discuss.
  • According to the article, lab-grown meat and plant-based meat rely on advanced technologies and possibly expensive labs and processes. Do you think that it’s really better for the environment to eat lab-grown meat and plant-based meat instead of real meat from farms? Why or why not? Discuss.