Bioreactor-grown meat, the next thing to come to your table

Yaakov Nahmias, Founder and Chief Scientist at Future Meat Technologies, teaches some examples of laboratory-grown animal fat. . / Ammar Awad

(Bloomberg) – An Israeli startup wants to replace chicken coops, granaries and slaughterhouses with bioreactors to produce cell-based meat for American diners.

Future Meat Technologies is in talks with US regulators to begin offering its products in restaurants by the end of next year. The company just opened what it calls the world’s first cellular meat industrial facility, which will be able to produce 500 kilograms per day.

“From the beginning, our main goal was to scale and lower the cost to achieve a commercially viable product,” CEO Rom Kshuk said in an interview.

The cultured meat industry, which produces proteins such as beef and chicken by growing cells rather than slaughtering animals, now encompasses more than 75 companies. As pilot plants pull technology out of the lab, Eat Just Inc. became the first company to sell cell culture chicken in a Singaporean restaurant.

Significant cost reduction

Since the first prototypes, startups have cut costs by 99%, and if consumers opt for these products, the market could reach $ 25 billion by 2030, McKinsey & Co. said in a report last week. But to compete with conventional meat, you need to cut costs even further.

Future Meat Technologies, which has raised $ 43 million from investors like Tyson Foods, Archer-Daniels-Midland and S2G Ventures, says it has the lowest price of farmed chicken breast. He managed to cut the cost to $ 4 per 100 grams, a fraction of the original price, and plans to cut it in half again by the end of 2022, Kshuk said.

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Evolution of investment in meat farming companies during the last few years.  Figures for 2021 are an estimate.  Graphic: Bloomberg. Evolution of investment in meat farming companies during the last few years.  Figures for 2021 are an estimate.  Graphic: Bloomberg.

Evolution of investment in meat farming companies in recent years. Figures for 2021 are an estimate. Chart: Bloomberg.

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The company’s plant, located in the Israeli city of Rehovot, can produce farmed chicken, pork and lamb, and will soon also produce beef.

However, it is small compared to some conventional agricultural factories, some of which slaughter thousands of animals per day. Good Food Institute said cultured meat production will need to reach millions of tons a year to move from the demonstration stage to the industrial stage.

Future Meat will be able to replicate the plant elsewhere, Kshuk said. It plans to target the US market, which has some of the highest meat consumption rates in the world, before expanding to Europe and China. The company has not yet decided what type of meat it will start offering first.

Other companies, such as BlueNalu, Upside Foods and Eat Just, have indicated that they intend to sell cell-based products in the US Like them, Future Meat must obtain approval from the US Department of Agriculture. and the Food and Drug Administration before offering their products to the public. Kshuk is optimistic, although reaching price parity with conventional meat will likely take a few years for the nascent industry.

“We aspire to reduce the cost more and more,” said the CEO. “The issue here is not having a premium product. It’s really about finding an alternative way of producing meat. “

VIDEO | Would you eat lab meat?


Original Note: Meat Grown in Bioreactors Is Coming to American Diners Next Year

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