SINGAPORE: Lab-grown chicken meat will make its debut at 1880, a private members’ club in Robertson Quay, in a culinary first this weekend after the company behind the product announced its inaugural sale on Wednesday (Dec 16).
US start-up Eat Just announced earlier this month that its cultured chicken had been given “first-in-the-world regulatory approval” by Singapore authorities.
Consumption of animals is an environmental threat as cattle produce potent greenhouse gas methane, while logging to create pastures destroys natural barriers against climate change.
On Wednesday, the company said it had made its first commercial sale of the product to 1880.
Eat Just chief executive Josh Tetrick said the news “moves us closer to a world where the majority of meat we eat will not require tearing down a single forest, displacing a single animal’s habitat or using a single drop of antibiotics”.
The club will start serving it from Saturday, the company said.
1880 said in a post on Facebook that it is “thrilled” that its restaurant Leonie’s “will be the world’s first restaurant to sell and serve cultured meat”.
“We get to work with new ingredients, something very creative, something we’ve never quite seen before, and we think people are going to love it,” said 1880.
Three cultured chicken dishes will be served, “each bite influenced by a top chicken-producing country in the world: China, Brazil and the United States”, the statement added.
“This is a very exciting collaboration for me,” said Colin Buchan, the restaurant’s executive chef, an alumnus of Michelin-starred establishments like Marco Pierre White’s L’Escargot and former private chef to David and Victoria Beckham.
“Rarely does a career chef get the chance to create an entirely new category of food and help design an interactive meal to introduce that product, and the meaning behind it, to the world for the first time,” he added.
Demand for sustainable meat alternatives is rising due to growing pressure from consumers about the environment and animal welfare, but other products in the market are plant-based.
Meat consumption is projected to increase more than 70 per cent by 2050 and lab-grown alternatives have a role to play in ensuring a secure food supply, the company said.
There were concerns that lab-grown varieties would be too expensive, but a spokesman for Eat Just said the company had made “considerable progress” in lowering the cost.
Singapore has become a hub for the development of sustainable foods, with start-ups producing goods ranging from lab-grown “seafood” to dumplings made with tropical fruit instead of pork.