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Laboratory leather: Company to mass produce tissue-engineered 'vegetarian' leather within five years

International
Leather grown in a lab could be on sale within five years, according to company 'Modern Meadows'. The company is also developing lab grown meat - but says that its first product could change the clothing industry.

Company co-founder and CEO, Andras Forgacs, says

“Our emphasis first is not on meat, it’s on leather,” Forgacs says. “The main reason is that, technically, skin is a simpler structure than meat, making it easier to produce. Anecdotally, we’ve found that around 40 percent of people would be willing to try cultured meat. There’s much less controversy around using leather that doesn’t involve killing animals."

The firm says its biggest problem is how to mass produce the cells needed for leather and meat.

Unfortunately the regulatory approval process could keep Modern Meadow burgers off the dinner plate for another 10 years.

The company will work for the next two years on perfecting their processes and materials, and creating a small volume of products.

However, Modern Meadow admits that the road ahead is not going to be easy. The Economist says overall global demand for meat will double by 2050.

"The consumer acceptance of such products may not be without challenges. We expect it will first appeal to culinary early-adopter consumers and the segment of the vegetarian community that rejects meat for ethical reasons."