In 2013, producing the first lab-grown burger cost $325,000. By 2015, though the cost had dropped to around $11, Mark Post, the Dutch researcher who created the burger, thought that it might take another two or three decades before it was commercially viable. But the first so-called “clean meat,” produced from animal cells without an actual animal, may be in restaurants by the end of 2018.
The Israel-based startup Future Meat Technologies aims to begin selling its first products later this year. The startup’s costs are still very high–around $363 a pound–but it believes that it can cut the cost of cellular agriculture to about $2.30 to $4.50 a pound by 2020. (Post’s $11 burger came in at $37 a pound; as of April, the average wholesale value of beef in the U.S. was $3.28 a pound, though no directly comparable production cost is available.) Today, the startup announced a $2.2 million seed round of investment, co-led by Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of the meat giant Tyson Foods.