Food industry insiders predict that lab-grown, or cell-cultured, meats will appear on restaurant menus and in grocery stores in the future.

Cell-cultured meats come from animal cells that are grown in a petri dish, fermented, and fed hormones and nutrients to become natural tissues, says Ruth MacDonald, an Iowa State University nutrition expert.

Cell-cultured meat likely won’t have the same appearance or texture as real meat, MacDonald says. It's also costly to produce.

While lab-grown meat may appeal to some consumers, MacDonald says there are benefits of raising livestock that extend beyond meat production.

Many essential household products are made from cattle, including medicines, plastics, adhesives, cosmetics, building materials, clothing, tires and much more.

“It’s always good to have choices, but we need to balance our choices and be smart about how we think about food and how it’s produced,” MacDonald says.

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