It might look like chicken. It might taste like chicken. But it doesn’t come from a chicken, it comes from a lab.
For chicken lovers in Singapore, this lab-grown chicken will soon be available in nugget form as the country has given the OK for San Francisco-based startup Eat Just to sell the meat. It is the first regulatory approval for so-called clean meat, according to Reuters.
“I would imagine what will happen is the U.S., Western Europe and others will see what Singapore has been able to do, the rigors of the framework that they put together. And I would imagine that they will try to use it as a template to put their own framework together,” said CEO Josh Tetrick in an interview with Reuters.
Cultured meat uses fat or muscle cells from an animal which are placed into a culture that nourishes the cells, causing them to grow, according to NBC News. The next step involves putting the cells into a bioreactor that further supports growth.
The industry is still in its early stages, and the products come with a big price tag.
For example, in 2013, a cultured hamburger made by a Dutch startup cost $280,000 per patty, according to NBC News.
Eat Just’s chicken is not nearly as expensive, with a price comparable to premium chicken, Tetrick told NBC.
But for Singapore, which only produces about 10% of its own food, the investment in lab-grown meat could pay off in the long term.
According to Reuters, there are more than 20 firms around the world exploring the lab-grown meat market, which Barclays bank says could be worth $140 million by 2029.
It is unclear if Eat Just’s meat could be approved for sale in the U.S.
For now, Eat Just is aiming small. The company told NBC News that when its chicken does finally go to market in Singapore, it will be at just one restaurant.