Fourth-graders in 2028 might grow their own cheese for lunch. In a concept called “Lunchabios,” researchers envision a Lunchables-like synthetic biology kit that would be marketed to children. Kids would use a bioreactor to culture cheddar, and then pair it with premade crackers and ham at lunch a few days later. A “Pro-GMO” certification on the package celebrates genetic modification, unlike GMO labeling today.
Lunchbox bioreactors are possible, the researchers say, because the technology is becoming cheap enough to make it accessible for everyone. If companies want to become more transparent about how they produce cultured food, and increase public literacy about synthetic biology, it’s likely that they’ll want to offer more hands-on experiences for consumers to try making that food themselves. It’s also likely that they’ll target children, whether or not parents support the idea.