It tastes like chicken.

That's what taste testers of a new lab-grown chicken strip said, Wall Street Journal reported.

Silicon Valley startup Memphis Meats unveiled their Southern battered-and-fried strips last week. Though grown from chicken cells, no actual animals were raised or slaughtered to produce the final product. Memphis Meats is targeting 2021 to launch the chicken and other lab-grown meat products to the public. There's just one problem, and kind of a big one at that. The price tag.

Right now, it costs $9,000 a pound to produce, the WSJ piece claims. The average price for conventional chicken at most American grocery stores? Just $3.22 per pound. Memphis Meats still has a long way to go to prep their chicken for public consumption. But they seem confident they can do so. In the press release announcing the new chicken, Memphis Meats says the "team expects to continue reducing production costs dramatically."

If they can find a way to reduce the cost by over 99 percent, Memphis Meats might just have a winner. Their press release reports that chicken is the most devoured protein in the United States, with Americans eating on average of 90 pounds of it a year. Chicken is a $90 billion market.

100% meat, far less environmental impact

Memphis Meats calls this frontier of food "clean meat." Though they use real animal cells, the environmental impact is far less than breeding, feeding and slaughtering chickens. "The way conventional poultry is raised creates huge problems for the environment, animal welfare, and human health," Memphis Meats co-founder and CEO Uma Valeti, M.D. said in a press release.

Encroaching on other meats

Chicken isn't the only protein Memphis Meats has successfully grown in a lab. Last year the startup announced its first product, a lab-grown meatball. At the time, it reportedly cost the company $18,000 to produce a pound of ground beef, compared to just $4 a pound for conventional beef.

They've unveiled other lab-grown poultry, too. This recent announcement included duck and succulent-looking photos of Duck à L'Orange. Memphis Meats mentions that 6 billion pounds of duck are consumed in China each year, so they're clearly targeting a global audience.

Would you eat a lab-grown chicken strip, meatball or duck breast? What would be the most you'd pay to try it?

Published on: Mar 20, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.