Cell-cultured chicken on the menu at world’s first slaughter-free dining experience
09 Nov 2020 --- A restaurant dedicated to serving cell-cultured meat is opening in Israel. Curious diners will be among the first to try slaughter-free dishes in a foodservice setting if they manage to get a table at The Chicken test kitchen – the world’s first restaurant experience serving meat grown directly from chicken cells.
Hailed as one step closer to slaughter-free meat becoming the norm, the restaurant has been created by Tel Aviv-based food tech company SuperMeat who says this is a significant development for the cultured meat industry.
“The Chicken is a landmark milestone for the lab-grown meat industry. It represents the first scalable, end-end and commercially viable manufacturing process. This would also be a key driver behind the ‘factory-side’ element of the restaurant experience where guests can look in on the manufacturing process,” Ido Savir, CEO, SuperMeat tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
Selected guests at The Chicken will be able to see the manufacturing plant from their seats and enjoy a restaurant experience on-premise, eating burgers made from chicken produced under the same roof.
However, they will have to apply to get a table reservation.
“Due to lack of clarity in regulation, SuperMeat has positioned The Chicken as a restaurant experience that is open to members of the public over the age of 18,” he continues.
“The Chicken is the world’s first test kitchen serving a menu of dishes developed from cultured chicken grown directly from chicken cells. The inviting space contrasts warm and organic design elements with striking modern metal and glass – reflecting our innovative yet sustainable approach to food.”
“Seats at the bar allow diners to watch our chefs in action, while tables in our vibrant dining room overlook the modern pilot plant where guests can observe the production process,” he details.
Having developed a manufacturing process for cultured chicken meat, SuperMeat is now looking for partners in the food and ingredient sourcing industries worldwide to work together on developing high-quality meat products, toward making cultured meat available everywhere.
“We named the experience “The Chicken,” and we see it as our vehicle and platform to start engaging with diners around cultured meat, telling them the story of the product and showcasing how it is manufactured,” continues Savir.
“The menu is seasonal, and our dishes are made from fresh and locally grown produce. Our chicken meat is manufactured and harvested on the other side of a glass window separating the venue from the manufacturing plant.”
“Our signature dish is the Chicken Burger. It is a breaded chicken fillet, crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. It is served with changing seasonal toppings and different aioli-based dressings on a sweet toasted brioche bun. Different chefs have experimented with the product and were excited about its dense chicken flavor and strong chicken aroma. Tasting panels conducted also concluded it as indistinguishable from traditionally manufactured chicken.”
The forecast for cultured meat
The development of cultured meat, fish and seafood is gaining traction as consumers demand more transparency from their food.
There are a variety of science-backed start-ups around the world developing various versions of cultured meat. However, commercialization is still some way off.
One of the hurdles cultured meat developers have to overcome is the scalability and cost-effectiveness of their processes.
Because SuperMeat is using a foodservice setting to dish up its slaughter-free chicken, the company says it’s addressing the three key challenges for commercialization: a scalable manufacturing process; a clear path to cost parity with conventional meat, and the production of high-quality and nutritious chicken products without compromising on taste.
“We aim to have our products in the foodservice sector in the next year and a half, to two years with prices comparable with premium restaurants,” continues Savir.
“We are looking to reach the first commercial scale plants in five years to achieve a wider reach and launch in retail. We expect to achieve cost parity with traditionally manufactured chicken meat in retail in the next five to seven years.”
With the world’s demand for meat projected to double by 2050, cultured meat offers an innovative food system that will provide nutritional security, drastically reduce carbon emissions, and increase food safety worldwide.
“The launch of The Chicken is an important step toward a world where cultured meat is accessible to everyone. There is strong public demand for transparency of how food comes to the table,” Savir continues.
By Gaynor Selby
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