Synthetic meat is coming soon! Actually, it has been coming soon for a long long long long long time.

There are many interesting social aspects to this future. Is lab-grown meat kosher or halal? Would eating human-meat be cannibalism? Is it vegetarian?

But, most importantly, what do we call people with a dietary preference for in-vitro meat?

Back in 2005, a blogger suggested "synthetarian". A portmanteau of synthetic and vegetarian.

The word has an interesting history. The earliest online reference I can find is from 2002 - a user on the Startopia game message-board discussing alien dietary requirements.

Except for the peeps that eat synthetic food (Energerian? Synthetarian?)

The earliest offline reference I can find is an otherwise unremarkable short sci-fi story from 1953.

In "The Model Of A Judge" by William Morrison, a curious alien creature has been domesticated. An experience he doesn't find particularly pleasant...

... he could remember the old feeling of pleasure, the delight of sinking his teeth into an animal he had brought down himself, the savage joy of gulping the tasty flesh. He didn't eat raw meat any more; he didn't eat meat at all. He had been conditioned against it. He was now half vegetarian, half synthetarian. His meals were nourishing, healthful, and a part of his life he would rather not think about.

Dietary fads come and go. With the news that 12% of people in the UK are vegetarian or vegan it isn't hard to imagine a future where the majority of people prefer a mainly synthetarian diet.

It's an odd word, no doubt, but I predict it will become increasingly popular.

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One thought on “Synthetarianism”

  1. says:

    I’ve long said that in the future my grandkids will find the concept of eating real dead animals as revolting as most of us find the concept of eating rats today.


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