Jennifer Stojkovic is the founder of Vegan Women Summit, the author of The Future of Food is Female, and General Partner of Joyful Ventures.
This past weekend, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the historic tasting reception of GOOD Meat at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. GOOD Meat, a product by Eat Just, is currently for sale in Singapore and is the world’s only cultivated meat product in the world legally sold to consumers. By receiving special permission to bring the product to COP27 for this monumental achievement, GOOD Meat’s history-making experience was one not to be missed.
First, why this year? Though cultivated meat has been legally sold in Singapore for nearly two years and will soon be sold in the United States, this year’s COP was special.
COP is the United Nations’ premiere gathering of over 40,000 world leaders focused on the climate crisis, but, unbelievably, this year was the first year in nearly three decades of history for food to be discussed as a policy issue in climate.
“there was no question that this year’s COP had to feature a world’s first”
This is, in contrast, to the fact that 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are attributed to animal agriculture. Thus, there was no question that this year’s COP had to feature a world’s first, and what better milestone than serving cultivated meat?
The tasting, which was held in a beautiful private setting at the Four Seasons, began with an introduction video. As I looked around, several familiar faces poured in, while newcomers from press outlets like Reuters and scientists from XPRIZE joined, too. Attendees watched the video transform from footage of an industrial factory farm of chickens to a facility of bioreactors, eyebrows were raised – for most, this was the first time learning about cultivated meat.
“Josh shared that the cells originated from an egg, which was interesting to learn”
The courses began to be served, with three different courses in total, including a plain chicken skewer, a course of chicken skin (a personal favorite from pre-vegan days), and a final chicken thigh-like cutlet. Attendees delighted and remarked about the taste of the meat, as CEO Josh Tetrick explained how the meat was created. This particular product was their newest formulation, which, he shared, contained “north of 70% cultivated meat” (the remainder was a combination of soy and plant proteins).
When asked where the meat was sourced from, Josh shared that the cells originated from an egg, which was interesting to learn. Incredibly, he also shared that 88% of Singapore consumers of the product are interested in switching from conventional meat, provided price was the same – a sentiment shared by my fellow table-mates, as well.
As someone who has participated in more than half a dozen cultivated meat tastings, I can share that this evening was something special. The heart and soul brought to this moment showed, as the story of GOOD Meat was shared passionately and artfully.
As Josh’s closing remarks shared, “We don’t believe that factory farming deserves to exist on this planet.” Amen.