French Chemist, Pierre-Eugène-Marcellin Berthelot predicts the idea of cell-based meat claiming that "by the year 2000, humans will dine on meat grown in a lab rather than slaughtered animals. Why not, if it proves cheaper and better to make the same materials than to grow them?"
French Biologist, Alexis Carrel keeps a piece of chick heart muscle alive in a Petri dish, demonstrating the possibility of keeping muscle tissue alive outside of an animal’s body.
Winston Churchill makes another prediction on cell-based meat suggesting, "[In] Fifty years 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."
After the discovery of cell lines in the 1950s, and after he suffered starvation in World War II, Willem van Eelen of the Netherlands recognizes the possibility of generating meat from tissue culture. He had said the idea came to him after attending a scientific lecture on how to preserve meat as a student at the University of Amsterdam.
American Biologist, Russell Ross achieves the in vitro cultivation of muscular fibers outside of an animals’ body. This tangentially layed the ground work for future cell-based meat research. Meanwhile, factory farming is becoming the status quo method of animal agriculture in developed nations.
For over 50 years insulin is obtained from the pancreas of animals to treat diabetes until 1978 when recombinant DNA techniques are used to produce the first synthetic ”human” insulin without using animals. Cellular agriculture derived insulin has the advantage of being less likely to cause allergic reactions than animal insulin and provides the first glance of what animal products from cellular agriculture could be.
Rennet, a dairy-related protein, is approved by the FDA in 1990 after 28 months in review. This marks the beginning of food products incorporating cellular agriculture and sets the stage for 21st-century cellular agriculture companies, regarding technology and regulation. Fast forward almost 10 years, and by 1999, 60% of hard cheeses from the US were made using this cell-based protein, rather than the animal-based protein used for generations prior.
NASA begins experiments on cell-based meat as potential food for astronauts but deems the research to be in too much need for scientific development. This ultimately sparks efforts in academia and beyond exploring the potential for cell-based meat.
Jason Matheny, currently the director of IARPA in the United States, starts a non-profit called New Harvest focused on cell-based meat research in academia.
The first peer-reviewed journal article on cell-based meat is published in the Journal of Tissue Engineering authored by researchers in the Netherlands and the United States.
Over half a century later, the spotlight is back on the Netherlands as years of development working towards the first cell-based hamburger is achieved. The Dutch team led by Mark Post showcased the burger in London for a live televised taste-testing.
The first cellular agriculture company aimed at producing egg whites, Clara Foods, is founded by Arturo Elizondo and David Anchel in the United States.
The first cellular agriculture company aimed at producing wildlife products like rhino horn and ivory, Pembient, is founded by Mathew Markus and George Bonaci based in Seattle, Washington.
The first cellular agriculture company working towards cell-based meat, Memphis Meats, is founded by Uma Valeti and Nicholas Genovese in the United States.
Multiple cell-based meat startups have launched by the end of 2016 including Memphis Meats, founded by Uma Valeti, Hampton Creek, founded by Josh Tetrick, Mosa Meat, founded by Mark Post in the Netherlands, and Super Meat founded by Ido Savir in Israel.
The first cellular agriculture company aimed at producing cell-based fish, Finless Foods, is founded by Mike Selden and Brian Wyrwas in the United States.
Nature & the Neomnivore, the first comprehensive report suggesting the environmental prospects of cellular agriculture is completed by Kristopher Gasteratos at Harvard University.
By the end of 2017 investment in cellular agriculture is increasing. Cell-based meat and cellular agriculture companies have garnered investment from traditional animal agriculture companies like Tyson and Cargill, as well as the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson.
The Cellular Agriculture Society is founded by Kristopher Gasteratos, serving as the first non-profit in the world focused on the topic of cellular agriculture; the primary aim being to accelerate the commercialization of cellular agriculture globally.
More than 20 cell-based meat startups have now launched around the world, including WildType, Meatable, Higher Steaks, Mission Barns, Integriculture, Blue Nalu, New Age Meats, and Aleph Farms.
After the first interactions between cell-based meat stakeholders and the United States government in July 2018, the FDA and USDA announce they will jointly regulate the cell-based meat industry.