In an arguably misguided effort to rid the world of mistreated farm animals raised for human consumption, or maybe just a bid to get more attention, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is offering $1 million to the first person to produce commercially viable artificial meat by 2012. Considering the world’s vehement distaste for genetically modified foodstuffs, I really don’t see PETA as really risking that much. Commercial viability is the sticking point. We’ve already got natural protein alternatives, like tofu and TVP (textured vegetable protein), and though their popularity has increased since they first hit store shelves here in the US in the 1970’s, the market penetration isn’t as much as animal activists would probably hope. And I’ve tried quorn once… never again. Quorn is a meat substitute that derives its protein from fungus, and many say it tastes just like chicken. I sure didn’t think so. As I recall, I didn’t even finish the portion.
Still, if you want to try and earn a million bucks, plus probably a whole lot more, come up with an artificial Chicken McNugget…. (or is that redundant?)