Differences between lab-grown meat, animal protein and plant protein

Differences between lab-grown meat, animal protein and plant protein

Food, like so much else, is not what it used to be. Terms such as lab-grown meat, animal protein and plant protein have become commonplace for many of the world’s consumers.

The technological and nutritional tsunami that began to form in the 1990s has become a wave of colossal proportions that is precipitating a historic revolution in all areas related to food, starting with consumers and extending to each and every sector of the food industry.

Supply, like trends, has multiplied to satisfy an ever-growing demand, but also, on many occasions, generating confusion.

What are the differences between lab-grown meat, animal protein and plant protein?


Protein of animal origin is accessible, yes, we could say that it has always been accessible; meat and fish are foods that have been considered basic in the diet since the beginning of time.

Meanwhile, plant-based protein, which in its original form has also accompanied nutrition since the beginning of time in the form of vegetables, legumes, etc., has acquired a new profile thanks to the arrival of the profound current that is the technological revolution which, just as it has served to transform animal protein into, for example, sausages, has articulated a varied diet for people who wish to exclude animal protein from their daily diet.

And now, the latest of the latest, so much so that it is only allowed to be served and tasted in one country in the world: Singapore, is lab-grown meat.


This is where we come to the red lines that really make the difference between lab-grown meat, animal protein and plant protein.

For lab-grown meat, the difference is clear. Outside Singapore’s borders, there is as yet no legislation regulating its consumption and when it arrives, barring initial human curiosity, it will probably be consumed by those who currently rely on animal protein in their diet.

In this case, it is worth noting that while this product is touted as an environmentally friendly food, research conducted by the Oxford Martin School in 2018 – and later by the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance Programme (LEAP) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) – found that lab-grown meat is not as clean as it appears and may lead to a greater long-term global warming effect than conventional agricultural approaches.

However, when it comes to plant-based protein, things change because consumers who have truly made plant-based foods the basis of their diet are not only looking for the same organoleptic quality and culinary diversity as consumers of animal-based protein, they also consider this form of food to be healthier, more sustainable and more animal-friendly.

These reasons and the increase in the quality and supply of plant-based products, achieved by the I+D+I departments of companies such as Molendum Ingredients, a subsidiary of the Dacsa Group, have made vegan and vegetarian diets the fastest growing food styles in recent decades.

One fact: Bloomberg Intelligence analysts predict that the value of the global plant-based food market will increase fivefold in less than 10 years.