Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

New Project Discusses Social Acceptance of Cultivated Meat in Germany

The Ministry of Science and Culture (MWK) in Lower Saxony, Germany, is supporting a project with up to €120,000  to discuss the social acceptance of cultivated meat. 

Called “Meat of the future” (Fleisch der Zukunft), the project will be conducted by Nick Lin-Hi, Professor of Business and Ethics at the Universität Vechta (one of Germany’s hotspots for agribusiness) and his team. 

The Ministry is funding a total of 13 projects with a budget of € 1.5 million as part of its “Discourses on the Future” programme, which aims to strengthen the exchange between science and the public on current issues.

The groundbreaking questions of our time

“With the “Discourses on the Future” programme, the research strength of our universities and research institutions becomes visible, especially in the groundbreaking questions of our time,” says  MWK.

Among the projects, “Should we save the world through our diet? Example discourse on meat substitutes” by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover will also bring existing research results into a wider conversation on alternative proteins. 

a symposium on cultivated meat

“Meat of the future” 

According to Professor Lin-Hi, the project will initiate a public debate on why cellular agriculture is the most significant tech breakthrough to transform the sustainability of the global food system. 

“Vechta is one of Germany’s hotspots for agribusiness. This means that I am in a real-world lab here, observing first-hand how cellular agriculture is poised to transform entire industries.

“In general, the German industry is aware of cultured meat. There are also first companies that are exploring different business models in the context of this innovation. However, for most incumbent market players in Germany, cultivated meat is something in the distant future – and sometimes it is seen as just science fiction,” Lin-Hi argued in an interview with ProVeg International. 

“It is generally the case that innovations can only succeed if members of society accept them. At present, the acceptance of cultured meat might be actually a greater hurdle than the technical challenges that need to be overcome on the way to its large-scale production,” he continued.

bluu seafood cultivated salmon served on a black plate with lemon rinds
Bluu Seafood’s cultivated sashimi © Bluu GmbH/Wim Jansen

Cell Ag on Germany’s agenda 

“In view of the great societal potential of cultured meat, it is a pity that it is not really on politicians’ agenda in Germany yet. If this does not change, Germany is once again in danger of missing the boat on a technology of the future. The hesitation to deal with cultured meat in Germany might be the result of a lack of knowledge about this innovation and the huge potential it has,” said the professor to ProVeg.

Last year, Germany’s Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN) and other partners, with €1.19 million in funds from The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), established a multidisciplinary research consortium called CELLZERO Meat to develop sustainable process solutions for the cultivated meat industry.

Now, the Lower Saxony government is dedicating funds to promote alt proteins, an initiative that should be followed nationwide.

“We have to keep in mind that we are dealing with an innovation that completely breaks with the millennia-old logic of how our meat is produced. This implies that we have to thoroughly and patiently educate people about what cultivated meat is and how it is relevant for sustainable development,” said Lin-Hi.

The “Meat of the future” project will include a symposium at the University of Vechta, focus group discussions with citizens on developing future scenarios, and a public event in Hanover.

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