Proteins from sources other than animals have received a healthy dose of attention for both pet food and human food in recent years, attracting not only consumer interest but also heavy investment. Cue the latest announcement: Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” judge, recently helped Wild Earth, which since 2019 has offered dog treats and foods derived from cultured koji, a fungus, secure US$23 million in additional funding to develop pet foods with other cell-based proteins. (Cuban was also an initial investor in the company in 2019.)
Mark and Peter acknowledged that the world’s demand for meat was projected to keep growing. Since the beginning of their work together five years prior, they determined that the best way to make a positive global impact would be to offer people the exact same culinary experience as conventional meat. To swap meat with meat by innovating the process, rather than the behaviour.
Meatable, the cultivated meat startup, has entered into a joint development agreement with Dutch multinational Royal DSM, a global purpose-led, science-based company active in nutrition, health and sustainable living, to co-develop growth media for cultivated meat. Growth media is a nutrient-rich liquid which contains the essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, salts, vitamins, and growth factors that cells need to grow.
A startup that makes cultured mozzarella and ricotta cheeses without cows has just got record funding from investors looking to tap the growing market for environmentally friendly dairy alternatives.Berlin-based Formo will use the $50 million of Series A funding — a record for a European foodtech — to expand its product range into mature and ripened cheeses like cheddar and gruyere. The company will also scale up its precision fermentation technology, it said in an emailed statement Monday.
Anewly released report explored the burgeoning cultured meat industry. It found that companies in the cultured meat field raised at least $366 million in 2020.
Turkish-US start-up Biftek produces a growth medium supplement made from lyophilised, bacteria-based serum to replace foetal bovine serum (FBS) in cell-cultured meat production, bringing the price down from $400 per litre to just $10 per litre.
Singapore-based startup Shiok Meats recently unveiled the world’s first lab-grown crab meat at a tasting event at Kebaya, an eclectic restaurant in Bukit Timah, Singapore. The first cell-based meat company in Singapore, Shiok Meats creates real seafood from a small amount of animal cells in a lab setting, a method of producing food that does not rely on industrial fishing. For the event, Shiok Meats partnered with local chef José Luis Del Amo to prepare various dishes highlighting the startup’s innovative cell-based crab.
mniFoods’ vegan pork just landed at nearly 200 Whole Foods Markets in 16 states and 371 Sprouts Farmers Markets across 23 states, representing the first time the vegan meat brand has distributed its products in the United States retail sector. OmniFoods is owned by the Green Monday Group, a multinational sustainability organization founded in Hong Kong by entrepreneur David Yeung, and its groundbreaking OmniPork is available in the freezer section in three varieties: OmniPork Ground, OmniPork Strips, and OmniPork Luncheon (a vegan alternative to Hormel’s Spam).
Cultured meat—genuine meat grown from animal cells in a lab—sounds like science fiction. And that’s a pretty accurate statement. References to slaughter-free meat grown in a lab go back decades in the genre, and most recently, it showed up in this year’s hit dystopian game Cyberpunk 2077, where you can buy a product called “vat-grown meat.” (Which is a callback to the slaughter-free meat from William Gibson’s 1982 novel, Neuromancer.) But, cultured meat is closer to reality than sci-fi would have us think. In the very near future, humans could be sampling high-grade salmon made from fish cells or a crisp chicken cutlet grown in a bioreactor with regularity.
Ahmed Khan is a cellular agriculture consultant and the founder and editor of CellAgri. News and market insights startup focusing on the future of food with cellular agriculture.