Recent research suggests that improving fats may be the secret to creating tastier, meat-free food. Hoxton Farms, in London, uses no animals in the production of animal fat. Animal cells are grown in a laboratory mixer for around three weeks. A unique mixture of plant ingredients is then given to the animal cells. Coconut oil has historically been used to produce animal fat. However, it has a lower melting point than other oils, which is the temperature at which fat transforms from a solid to a liquid. But there are certain benefits to using coconut and other oils, such as their availability and their low price.

Ed Steele, one of the co-founders of Hoxton Farms, explains that his product can help producers save money by removing the need for flavorings and binders in addition to plant oils. Natural flavorings can commonly be used to create the “meaty” flavor, according to Linda Ho, a lead food scientist at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (NAIT) Centre for Culinary Innovation.