SINGAPORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eat Just, Inc., a company that applies cutting-edge science and technology to create healthier, more sustainable foods, in partnership with 1880, an establishment founded to inspire conversations that change the world, made history over the weekend when their cultured meat was served and sold to guests for the first time at a series of highly anticipated dinners.
The restaurant debut of GOOD Meat Cultured Chicken – real, high-quality meat created directly from animal cells for human consumption – followed Singapore’s first-in-the-world regulatory approval for the product in November. The inaugural table of customers, which included a group of inspiring young people committed to building a better planet, paid the check on Saturday at 7:23 p.m. Singapore time. About 40 other patrons were set to partake over the course of the launch period.
"I'm speechless,” an 11-year-old guest said of the dining experience, noting that as cultured meat becomes more affordable and accessible, “it will save a lot of animals' lives and it will be a lot more sustainable. It feels good to have chicken without feeling guilty,” he said. His 12-year-old dining companion observed: “This chicken, it's just chicken, but it's the most amazing thing I've ever seen or ever tasted. It's definitely made me see how small things, like just changing the way we eat, can literally change our entire lives.”
The series of immersive, four-course launch dinners at 1880 are sold out through the end of the year and the restaurant is planning to feature a cultured chicken dish on its menu in 2021 for the price of a premium conventional chicken dish. The landmark sales have sparked global conversations among thought-leaders and the media about whether other countries will adopt similar regulatory frameworks to allow for the sale of cultured meat and how soon that could happen.
Astrophysicist and cosmologist Martin Rees, the United Kingdom’s Astronomer Royal, named Eat Just’s progress one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of 2020 on Sunday, telling The Guardian that it is an “ethical advance.” Peter H. Diamandis, founder and executive chairman of XPRIZE and executive founder of Singularity University, said: “The success of Eat Just’s moonshot heralds the beginning of a new food revolution that allows for sustainable, affordable and healthy protein for the rising billion.”
The weekend’s transactions were the culmination of a nearly 90-year-vision first articulated by British statesman Winston Churchill and pursued for decades by Dutch researcher and entrepreneur Willem van Eelen. In a 1931 essay, Churchill imagined a world where “we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.” Van Eelen, widely known as the “godfather of cultured meat,” made it his life’s mission to realize the promise of safe, sustainable meat production from cells instead of live animals.
Following van Eelen’s passing, Eat Just acquired his patents as part of a broader intellectual portfolio and his daughter Ira became a friend and adviser to the company. “My father dedicated his life to the idea that human ingenuity could take this concept from the realm of science fiction to real food that nourishes our bodies,” Ira van Eelen said. “This launch and future developments in the field will forever impact our relationship with the food we eat and the planet we inhabit. This marks the beginning of us doing things better than we have done for thousands of years.”
“This historic accomplishment is not the result of a single company’s actions – far from it. It’s the result of the imagination and tenacity of Willem van Eelen as well as the many scientists, educators and entrepreneurs in the field who believed in the power of this idea before most of the folks at my company were even born, including me. Today, we’re thankful for them and will continue to carry on their important work,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just.
In conjunction with GOOD Meat Cultured Chicken’s restaurant debut, Eat Just launched goodmeat.co, a new digital platform focused on educating consumers about the importance of this method of meat production as worldwide demand for animal protein continues to grow. Through this website, the company aims to highlight the need for safer, more efficient and less environmentally harmful ways of producing meat as consumption is projected to increase over 70 percent by 2050.