Bringing cultured meat to market: Technical, socio-political, and regulatory challenges in cellular agriculture

Neil Stephens, Lucy Di Silvio, Illtud Dunsford, Marianne Ellis, Abigail Glencross, Alexandra Sexton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

417 Citations (SciVal)


Background: Cultured meat forms part of the emerging field of cellular agriculture. Still an early stage field it seeks to deliver products traditionally made through livestock rearing in novel forms that require no, or significantly reduced, animal involvement. Key examples include cultured meat, milk, egg white and leather. Here, we focus upon cultured meat and its technical, socio-political and regulatory challenges and opportunities. Scope and approach: The paper reports the thinking of an interdisciplinary team, all of whom have been active in the field for a number of years. It draws heavily upon the published literature, as well as our own professional experience. This includes ongoing laboratory work to produce cultured meat and over seventy interviews with experts in the area conducted in the social science work. Key findings and conclusions: Cultured meat is a promising, but early stage, technology with key technical challenges including cell source, culture media, mimicking the in-vivo myogenesis environment, animal-derived and synthetic materials, and bioprocessing for commercial-scale production. Analysis of the social context has too readily been reduced to ethics and consumer acceptance, and whilst these are key issues, the importance of the political and institutional forms a cultured meat industry might take must also be recognised, and how ambiguities shape any emergent regulatory system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-166
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Early online date27 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2018


  • Cellular agriculture
  • Clean meat
  • Cultured meat
  • In vitro meat
  • Regulation
  • Society

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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