In 2013, the world's first lab-grown burger was unveiled to the world.
It carried a $330,000 price tag and apparently it wasn't all that tasty.
But the scientists behind the idea have been hard at work, and artificial meat that's both cost-effective and palatable may arrive sooner than we think.
“You could argue that it's not made in a cow so it may not be real, but it’s essentially the same tissue so it has the same nutritional value,” says the burger’s creator, Professor Mark Post.
A lab-grown burger might make our beef farmers balk, but the man behind the artificial meat may convince them otherwise.
“You can reduce the total number of animals from 1.5 billion that we have right now on the planet to say 30,000, much fewer animals that emit methane, so much less greenhouse gases and also much fewer animals that we need to feed,” Prof Post says.
Cultured beef involves painlessly harvesting tissue from a live cow, extracting stem cells from the tissue, and feeding and nurturing them until they multiply many times.
Further cultivation sees the cells coalesce into small strips of muscle about a centimetre long and a few millimetres thick.
Thousands of these strips are then layered together to form a burger.
From one tiny piece of tissue can come 20,000 kilograms of beef.
“We'll hopefully be able to make fat tissue that's a little bit healthier for you. We are scaling up production and we are getting rid of some of the animal products that are still in there,” says Prof Post.
The impact of cultured beef on farming would be huge, but he believes the industry can adapt.
“The grassland can be converted into wheat or corn or any other staple type of food, and you know, I see farmers as the ultimate entrepreneurs.”
If all goes to plan, the first cultured beef will be available in specialist stores within five years. But Prof Post also sees a future where meat can be produced at home.
“It's more complex than baking bread, and a lot of people can't get over that, so it's probably not a very practical thing but you can do it at home - it's that simple.”
Today's test tube burger is a taste of what's to come.