Cultured Meat and Farmers

In a two-year study, a team led by the RAU is asking what farmers think of cultured meat, then modelling how real farm businesses might fare if it becomes part of our diets. 

Will cultured meat impact UK farmers?  

Tackling and adapting to climate change will change the way we eat. While it is almost certain this will include eating less meat overall, there are big questions over how we get there. Do we cut back more on beef or on chicken? Who are the winners and losers? Do we change our habits, or substitute meat alternatives in processed foods?   

Cultured meat, also known as cultivated, cell-based, or lab-grown meat, is one type of meat substitute. It has attracted interest from investors because of its potential to have the same taste and texture as conventional meat, and appeal to committed carnivores. 

Until now, research into cultured meat hasn’t considered how it’s adoption would affect farm businesses. There has been significant research into the ethics, health, climate and economic impacts of cultured meat but farming has been left out of the picture. As well as mattering to farmers, this is important to understand the overall environmental, social and economic impact of these technologies.  

So far, we’ve held a number of focus groups with beef, pig, poultry, dairy, sheep and arable farmers from across the UK. We wanted to know their attitudes to cultured meat and how they imagine its development would affect them. We found recurring themes about the threats to food and farming, and some possible opportunites too. Now we want to model what the future could look like, and we’ll be focussing right in on eight real farm businesses.

Join us and have your say  

We are looking to team up with eight farms to model how their business could change in a world with cultured meat. Through the focus groups, we’ve identified the types of farm most likely to be affected, both positively and negatively, now we’re searching for the right farms. Are you a farmer and interested in taking part? You would collaborate with us to map the resources on your farm, working with a team of specialists and a consumer focus group. You would be recompensed for your time and the findings could provide valuable business insights. For more information, get in touch.

Who’s involved 

The project has been awarded funding by UK Research and Innovation as part of its Transforming UK Food Systems Strategic Priorities Fund Programme. It is one of 11 projects awarded funding under Government’s Transforming UK Food Systems Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) programme.  

UK research and innovation logo

The research team combines leading experts in cultured meat and technical specialists from academia and industry with experience in farmer-centred innovation. The main contributors to this project, which centres on farm-based models of CM production, are as follows: 

Project leads: 

Project partners: 

The project has been developed with farming organisations, cultured meat businesses, food companies, charities and government, who will continue advising the research. They include the following:  

Aleph farms meat growers logo

The breakthrough institute logo

Campden bri food and drink innovation logo

Cellular agriculture logo

Energineering Solutions logo

Food farming and countryside commission logo

Good food institute logo

Green Alliance logo

Innovation for agriculture logo

LEAF logo

Multus Media logo

New Harvest logo

Proveg international logo

RSPCA logo

Sainsburys logo

Soil association logo


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