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Food

A Taste Test for the World’s First Test-Tube Hamburger


Scientist Hanni Rützler inspects a burger made of cultured beef in London on Aug. 5

Photograph by David Parry/AP Photo

Scientist Hanni Rützler inspects a burger made of cultured beef in London on Aug. 5

Sure, marketers are game to try selling shoppers on the still-experimental—and somewhat terrifying—lab-grown hamburgers. But who wants to be the first person to actually eat the artificial meat?

Today in London, two brave tasters sampled the test-tube burger, served pan-fried by chef Richard McGeown. While the meat—developed by professor Mark Post of Maastricht University at a cost of some €250,000 ($332,000)—remains far from making it to the market, the question of taste is pivotal. Consumers are unlikely to bother getting over their aversion to the idea of man-made meat if the stuff can’t pass the palate just like the real thing.

In a video from the Telegraph, food writer Josh Schonwald and nutritional researcher Hanni Rützler talk about their first bites of the “Frankenmeat”:

Rützler: “I was expecting the texture to be more soft. … There is quite some flavor with the browning. And I know there is no fat in it, so I didn’t know how juicy it would be, but there is quite some intense taste. It’s close to meat. It’s not that juicy. But the consistency is perfect. I miss salt and pepper.”

Schonwald: “The texture, the mouthfeel, has a feel like meat. … The absence is, I feel like, the fat. It’s a leanness to it. The bite feels like a conventional hamburger.”

Venessa-wong-190x190
Wong is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @venessawwong.

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