When you think of Silicon Valley, hot skillets and sizzling meat platters aren’t the first things that come to mind. But that’s about to change.
Meat the Future, the new documentary from director Liz Marshall, begins with the line, “The hottest tech in Silicon Valley made this meatball,” before drawing you into the fascinating world of high-tech meat.
Uma Valeti is a former cardiologist who left the field of medicine to create a company that specializes in cell-based meat. It’s an engineering process that creates meat without the need for live animals and farms, which eliminates most of the environmental damage from the process. It also means we don’t have to slaughter animals. It’s a win-win.
The hook here is that cell-based meat is actual meat created from live samples from cows, pigs, and chickens. This meat is then nourished in a lab until it can be shipped out and served up on consumers’ dinner plates. At least that’s the plan. When the film begins, it costs Uma’s company $18,000 to create one pound of meat.
The film follows Uma as he fights to overcome two major hurdles: lowering the cost of production and convincing the public to embrace his product. This means changing the impression that his product comes from godless mad-scientists churning out Franken-meat. He also must deal with the beef industry, who feel threatened by “clean-meat,” which will one day cut into their sales.
Marshall tackles an under-the-radar subject that is destined for mainstream attention. With scientists speculating that COVID-19 originated in a wet market, the calls for ethical farming and clean-meat are about to take centre stage in our national conversation. Meat the Future is informative, easy to follow, and guaranteed to spark some riveting discussions.