A new virtual restaurant explores a range of possible futures for human interaction with meat.

A new virtual restaurant is serving up “food for thought,” using design to explore a range of possible futures for human interaction with meat. The project, dubbed Bistro In Vitro, takes the far-out idea of in-vitro meat and situates it within the world of online gastronomy as we know it—amid menus, chef interviews, critical reviews and the like.

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Bistro in Vitro by Koert Mensvoort
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While lab-grown meat has been hailed as a potential solution to food shortages and animal cruelty, the idea tends to provoke a queasy reaction from the public. Bistro In Vitro aims to substitute this gut response with reasoned debate.

Produced by Next Nature Network and Submarine Channel, the restaurant brings together artists, chefs and scientists who share a belief that “before we can decide if we ever want to eat lab-grown meat, we need to explore its impact on our food culture.”

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The site allows visitors to compose a menu from a selection of creative in-vitro meat dishes, complete with realistic photography. It then suggests how these choices reflect their attitudes on these possible future food systems.

With the world’s population likely to reach 9.6 billion in 2050 amid mounting resource pressures, the future of food is anyone’s guess. Design fictions such as Bistro In Vitro can help reveal the outlines of future debates years ahead of time, and far-sighted brands would be wise to take note.

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Bistro in Vitro by Koert Mensvoort