A Guide to Terminology
Our category is dynamic and still very new, with a large number of new companies working to bring products to market. In order to solve the challenges facing our food system in feeding 10 billion by 2050, we believe that we will need to have every tool in the toolkit at our disposal. As an association, it’s important to us that the conversation around our new industry remain inclusive and approachable, while at the same time ensuring that terminology used reflects scientific accuracy and is not inherently demeaning towards our own products or conventionally-produced meat and seafood products.
We’ve created this guide to help different stakeholders navigate the terminology surrounding the space, to explain the terms that are acceptable and unacceptable to us and to provide a perspective on the accuracy of other terms.
Terms that are accurate:
“Meat / poultry / seafood” or “meat / poultry / seafood products”: Colloquially, these terms indicate food derived from the body parts of animals, which in general are processed animal muscle tissue, connective tissue, fat and skin. Because cell-based meat, poultry and seafood products are derived from animals and are real animal flesh, these terms can be used to refer to them, just as they are applied to conventionally-produced meat products.
“Cell-based meat”: This is a neutral, scientifically accurate term that is commonly used by proponents, detractors and neutral observers alike. It references the composition of the products in this category. It parallels and creates clear distinction from “plant-based protein” and “animal-based meat.”
“Cultivated meat”: This is a neutral, scientifically accurate that is commonly used by proponents, detractors and neutral observers alike. It appropriately reflects the fundamental production of these products. “Cultivator” is a term many companies use to refer to the bioreactors where cellular agriculture takes place. Thus, the adjective “cultivated” proceeds logically from this and provides a technically accurate definition.
“Cultured meat” or “cell-cultured meat”: This is a neutral, scientifically accurate term that is commonly used by proponents, detractors, and neutral observers alike. It references “cell culture” and “tissue culture,” the foundational scientific processes of the category. It is the term commonly used within academic / research fields.
Terms that are judgment-based and are not used by the association:
“Clean meat”: This term is used by some proponents of the category. This term is meant to reference the controlled nature of the production environment. The association does not accept or use this term, as some view it as judgment-based.
“Lab-grown meat”: This term is used by some neutral observers and detractors of the category. This term is inaccurate. As with most food, while early stage research is typically conducted in a laboratory, large-scale production will occur in a food production facility that will not resemble a laboratory. This is a similar lifecycle to many products not referred to as “lab-grown” (for instance, beer is not referred to as “lab-grown beer”). The association does not accept or use this term as it is judgment-based.
“Fake meat” or “Synthetic meat” or “Artificial meat” or “Faux meat”: These terms are inaccurate, as products in this category have been recognized as meat, down to the compositional level. These terms are commonly used by detractors of the category, and are intended to create consumer aversion to the category, before any products have come to market.