This article seems to say that it's possible to create the complex structure of a steak today. Is there any more of a reliable source that discusses the actual implementation of lab grown steak? Ground or minced beef exists.

Toubia said each of the thinly-sliced steaks they made as part of this prototype took 2-3 weeks to produce and cost $50.


It just seems unlikely that an actual steak, other than the one quoted, has been synthetically designed. The article is supplementary to show that some form of steak already exists. What about steak that is of complex enough structure to emulate sirloin, T-bone, etc?

Should this question be moved to the biology SE?

  • 3
    This is an interesting question but in its current form it feels like it hinges on the subjective question, "What's close enough to steak to be called a steak?". It's an area of tech undergoing gradual improvement - some will taste this product and judge it crosses the line ("Yes, that tastes like steak to me"), others will disagree. Can you think of a way of making this question objective? Maybe, does this product contain the same variety (fats, sinew, etc) as a steak? Dec 17, 2018 at 13:02
  • @user568458 - Agreed. It seems to me that this is more a question of opinion and judgement than hard science. The stuff being produced at present is apparently on the hairy edge of "edible", so it's up to public opinion to judge when it becomes "real". Dec 17, 2018 at 13:37
  • What do you mean by "it seems false"? What assertion in particular are you challenging here? Are you challenging that they've made the things they're describing as minute steaks, or are you challenging that those are actually "steak"?
    – Ben Barden
    Jul 26, 2019 at 15:48
  • 1
    The edit makes it clear this isn't a specific claim, but a speculative question.
    – Oddthinking
    Jul 27, 2019 at 1:52
  • No, that news article is supplementary. :/
    – adamaero
    Jul 29, 2019 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


According to Wikipedia, in what appears to be a well researched (for a change) article, yes and no.

While lab grown meat exists (and was in fact first presented in 2013 at an experimental scale) it's not actually meat in the way that a steak is. It's a replicated single type muscle cell it seems, so lacks the variety in materials found in actual meat. It's pretty much pure collagen and protein, no fat at all, for example.

Also, the cost is horrendous. Again according to Wikipedia it cost about $5300 per kilo in 2017 (last data they have about cost), hardly something to compete with the $25 or so per kilo of real steak (medium quality cuts), let alone with the less than $10 per kilo for mince meat, which is all that it's been used for in experiments to date.

IMO (and that's personal opinion) you're more likely to succeed in breeding lab cloned cattle and slaughtering those. Probably going to be a lot cheaper, and provide a better end product (and it's been done, at least with sheep). Whether you'd call that lab grown meat is up to you.

  • 7
    Wikipedia changes and isn't a trusted source in itself. Please follow up some of the links and confirm that they say what Wikipedia claims.
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 17, 2018 at 5:01
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    "breeding lab cloned cattle and slaughtering those." - But those cattle would still have nervous systems, thus not fulfilling the promise of "ethical meat", and would still have to grow up with a full metabolism, thus not fulfilling the promise of "environmentally friendly meat". And you can't even claim that it's organic and free-range. At this point you should probably just use normal cattle breeding instead. Dec 17, 2018 at 10:58
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    "it's not actually meat in the way the steak it" - that's the whole point of the claim (and question). That's why the article says "world's first". The claim is that previous attempts weren't meat-like ("none has publicly achieved the goal of replicating the texture, shape, and mouthfeel of savory, chewy sirloin"), but this is. Your answer is essentially "previous attempts weren't meat-like". Dec 17, 2018 at 12:48
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    The point about cost isn't relevant because this article is about one-off batches produced by scientists in a lab. Of course prototypes are expensive; if it works, economies of scale may be engineered later. And the IMO and comments miss the point - it's about creating meat that avoids the huge energy pyramid loss of raising and sustaining an entire cow when all you want is the meat. Hence the article says "environmentally friendly" - needs less land, and is potentially very efficient with much less waste. Dec 17, 2018 at 12:56
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    @jwenting the first transistor cost $380. They now cost under a millionth of a cent. I don't think that cost is a reasonable objection.
    – 0xDBFB7
    Jul 29, 2019 at 20:27

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