Lab Milk: Our Team’s Opinions
As the futuristic concept of lab-produced milk is fast becoming a reality, we checked in with some of our team members to hear their thoughts and feelings on the subject – and, perhaps most importantly, whether or not they’ll be trying it.
A quick summary of what lab milk is
Lab-produced milk is the result of a great deal of scientific research right now. Its aim? Producing cow’s milk... but without the cows.
It’s made by adding DNA collected from mammary stem cells that naturally end up in cow’s milk. Whey and casein proteins are extracted and inserted into genetically modified yeast that’s then fermented with sugars before being filtered and turned into milk – then ice cream, cheese and so on!
Is it vegan?
It’s considered vegan by manufacturers as it’s made from yeast without animals. However, the use of proteins sourced from milk might leave more of a question mark for some vegans.
What do our team think?
Katie, Head of Creative – so enthusiastic about lab milk that she made me edit this post after it went live
When I first heard about it I did not want it. But the more I thought about it the more I feel like I do about vertical farming. It's GENIUS. We need to find space and energy-saving sustainable solutions that support a growing population. I love cheese and where does cheese come from? Milk. Is vegan cheese good? No.
Milk I did not care about cutting out of my diet, but cheese I really care about. I also really care about the future of our planet, and if someone is going to make it possible for me to have my cheese and eat it too. I will take it. I stan lab milk.
Albie, Logistics and Operations Partner – very vegan
I’ve never really been a big fan of milk: I don’t have it in my coffee; I don’t eat cereal; I’ve thoroughly given up my body-building dreams, and because of this I don’t feel the need to look into more alternatives than are already out there. But given the toll that dairy has on female cows, anything with the stamp of ‘Cruelty-Free’ is good in my book.
But, I do find myself asking, ‘is this really worth the effort?’ When you’ve got so many readily-available alternatives that require a lot less effort, energy, scientific expertise and money, what’s the point?
Flo, Senior Development Chef – non-vegan
Ok, so, first of all, I’ve never heard of lab milk before and my gut reaction is ‘Ew, no, that sounds strange’. On first instinct, it doesn’t sound appetising at all. But then loads of food is gross if you think about it in detail. Like yoghurt, even vegan yoghurt is made by injecting bacteria to let it grow and multiply. Gross.
I haven’t drunk a glass of milk since the late 90s, but I wouldn’t have a problem putting it in my tea. I’d like to understand more about why this exists before I commit fully though.
Emily, Customer Delighter – not 100% vegan
The concept of milk grown in a lab doesn’t sound particularly appealing to me, but then again, neither does the treatment of cows or the breakdown of our climate.
I personally wouldn’t drink milk produced from a lab but only because I choose not to drink dairy milk of any kind, but I wouldn’t rule it out altogether though, and I’m interested to see what happens next.
Food grown in labs that isn’t sourced directly from animals or even from plants is clearly the future whether we like it or not.
Ellie, Procurement and Sustainability Partner – vegan
Maybe I’d drink it in tea? I wouldn’t be against it as a concept but milk was the easiest thing to give up and I don’t really miss it.
Thinking about its environmental impacts, it’s hard to predict the negative side effects as, with many technology-based solutions, it’s literally never been done before. Whereas with nature-based solutions, like planting trees, there’s relatively little that could go wrong.
Toni, Content Marketing Assistant – self-proclaimed flexi
I would drink it if it was offered to me but don't really see myself buying it.
I would be a bit more likely to buy lab cheese or ice cream though. I think it's an interesting and cool solution for those who would like to go dairy-free but are still attached to cow's milk.
Matt, BI Lead – vegan
I wouldn't really drink it – mainly because I find milk a bit icky. I'm used to not consuming dairy now.
I'd invest all my pocket money in this if they need it – I'd be extremely in favour of us doing so as a society because this would maaassively reduce the amount of suffering, and presumably environmental pressures, caused by dairy production. It would just be much, much easier than convincing everyone in the world to give up cheese!
The general consensus seems to be that of mild interest in trying it themselves but a keener intrigue to understand how it develops. Perhaps not altogether unsurprising considering we’re all such big plant-based advocates – keep the oat milk coming our way!
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts on lab milk in the comments section below – will you be buying a pint of the stuff?
By Fabian Jackson
Fabian is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants who loves writing almost as much as he loves coffee, old episodes of Escape to the Country (no judgement here), and cooking up a storm in his kitchen.