Innovation

Startup to serve up chicken strips cultivated from cells in lab

File photo: Dec. 4, 2014: A man walks past live chickens on the outskirts of Cairo.  (Reuters)

File photo: Dec. 4, 2014: A man walks past live chickens on the outskirts of Cairo. (Reuters)  (Reuters)

A Bay Area food-technology startup says it has successfully developed the world’s first chicken strip grown from self-reproducing cells without so much as ruffling a feather.

And it pretty much tastes like chicken, according to people who were offered samples Tuesday in San Francisco, before a planned big reveal on Wednesday by Memphis Meats Inc.

Scientists, startups and animal-welfare activists believe the new product could help to revolutionize the roughly $200 billion U.S. meat industry. Their goal: Replace billions of cattle, hogs and chickens with animal meat they say can be grown more efficiently and humanely in stainless steel bioreactor tanks.

Startups including Memphis Meats and Mosa Meat, based in the Netherlands, have been pursuing the concept. They call it “clean meat,” a spin on “clean energy,” and they argue the technique would help the food industry avoid the costs of grain, water and waste-disposal associated with livestock. Scientists from those companies have already produced beef, grown from bovine cells and made into a burger and a meatball. Until now, chicken hasn’t been produced using the method.

This story originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal.