The woolly mammoth meatball was made with the intention of challenging the “public and the meat industry to think differently about how we produce and consume food - highlighting cultured meat as a viable alternative to traditional animal agriculture.”
A meatball made from mammoth DNA has been unveiled at the Nemo Science museum in the Netherlands. The meatball was made using advanced molecular engineering by Vow, an Australian cultured meat company. With the help of a team of experts and scientists, Vow utilized DNA from the extinct woolly mammoth as well as fragments of African elephant DNA, which is a close relative of the mammoth. The project was the brainchild of “creative disruptor” Bas Korsten, chief creative officer of the global creative agency Wunderman Thompson, with the intention of challenging the “public and the meat industry to think differently about how we produce and consume food - highlighting cultured meat as a viable alternative to traditional animal agriculture.”
“The Mammoth Meatball shows the world that when technology meets creativity it can change our future,” explained Korsten, in a press release. “Our aim is to start a conversation about how we eat, and what the future alternatives can look and taste like. Cultured Meat is meat, but not as we know it. It’s the future.”
“What's truly exciting about this project is the ability to create a protein that hasn't existed in thousands of years. Cultivated meat allows us to push the boundaries of culinary innovation and create entirely new food experiences,” said James Ryall, Vow, Chief Scientific Officer of Vow. “Rather than simply replicating existing products, this technology offers us the opportunity to create something truly unique and better. It's a missed opportunity not to take advantage of the potential of cultivated meat to revolutionize the way we think about food. Cultured meat is going to need the support of political systems to generate enough momentum and money to support this brand-new technology.”
Cultivated or cultured or lab grown meat, which is tissue grown in a lab from cell cultures taken from animals such as cow, chicken, even fish, is gaining some steam as a way to reduce environmental burden animal agriculture has on the environment. One survey, for example, found that 80% of respondents were open to trying lab grown meat. Currently, lab grown meat is only available in Singapore, but it is on its way to gaining regulatory approval in the U.S. as well two companies – Upside Foods and Good Meat – received “no question” letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding the companies’ safety conclusions about their products.
Vow is taking a different approach to lab grown meat, by exploring new flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits not seen before in meat, rather than replicating existing meat products. The company will even be launching its first brand, Forged by Vow, in Singapore later this year. The company says that Forged by Vow will create “dining experiences unlike anything we’ve seen before.”
“With our first brand, Forged by Vow, we are aiming to pioneer a new school of thought: that food as we know it doesn’t need to be the way we know it,” said Vow founder, Tim Noakesmith, in a press release. “We are on a mission to break the status quo of food using unexpected, delicious flavors and unforgettable experiences. The future of food favors the brave.”