Lab-made meat startup Memphis Meats hopes to grow a Thanksgiving turkey

Memphis Meats sizzled onto the startup stage earlier this year with a lab-grown meatball. Now, it’s entertaining the idea of growing other meats — including turkey.

The startup has created an Indiegogo campaign to save some of the nearly 50 million birds from the slaughter each Thanksgiving by educating the public on what meat of the future could look and taste like.

While I am not crazy about posting Indiegogo campaigns, the company says this one is about getting the word out, not so much about raising funds to make turkey or other meats. In fact, Memphis Meats has already raised $3 million in seed funding to harvest animal cells and grow their meat in a petri dish.

The animal industrial complex is terrible for the planet and us, says Memphis Meats. It takes 660 gallons of water to produce one hamburger and, according to the CDC, raw meat is a major source of bacteria causing food-borne illnesses. So instead, the startup grows biologically identical meat in the lab, gathered from animal cells, essentially creating real meat, but cruelty-free and planet friendly.

Now Memphis Meats says it wants to get the market ready in time for its “clean meat” products to hit shelves in the next five years.

Memphis Meats definitely has its work cut out. I’ve asked several vegan friends in the past if they’d eat meat grown in a lab and most either said they weren’t sure or were grossed out by the idea. But cultured animal products like Memphis Meats might be perfect for meat lovers who don’t currently eat it because of concerns for health or the environment.

However, the startup acknowledges it will take some preparation to get some consumers on board and it’s asking supporters to donate to help the cause. The donations range in scale from $3 to $1,000. For a donation of $3 — the price of a typical fast food burger — Memphis Meats will name you as a “champion.” You could also get a sticker, a water bottle or a hoodie with the company logo on it, depending on the donation amount. The $1,000 level will get you all the swag plus your name on the website.

At this writing, Memphis Meats has raised more than $52,000 from nearly 700 backers to put turkey and other meats made from its Bay Area lab on shelves.

Though the Thanksgiving bird is probably a distant future project for the company, but there’s hope it could be sooner.

“The company will start with ground meats, but formed meats are on the roadmap, and could be chicken breast, steak, and even a whole turkey if the demand is there,” a company spokesperson told TechCrunch.

We were also able to obtain a video from the startup showing something like a piece of beef cooking on the grill. Will turkey be next? You can see the never-before-seen footage of the new beef fajita meat from Memphis Meats below: