Cell culture media formulas are a closely guarded secret in the nascent cell-cultured meat industry, says Bangalore-based Richcore Lifesciences. However, they typically contain water, amino acids (lysine, arginine etc), sugars (glucose), salts, vitamins, buffering agents, recombinant proteins (albumin, transferrin etc) and growth factors (FGF, IGF, TGF etc), which send signals to encourage cells to do certain things such as proliferate or differentiate. And catalog prices for the latter can run into thousands of dollars a gram, which is fine if you’re using them to culture cells in a laboratory, but presents challenges if you’re using them to produce tons of meat, said Richcore Lifesciences, which has 15 years’ experience in producing recombinant proteins from various microbial expression systems (such as bacteria and fungi) for the pharmaceutical industry, and is now turning its attention to food.
Future Meat Technologies, an Israeli Foodtech firm that develops cultured meat products, closed $26.75 million in funding. The investment came from the company’s strategic partners and VC backers, including Tyson Foods, ADM, Müller Group and Rich’s Products Corporation, alongside leading venture capital investors such as S2G Ventures, ADM Capital, Emerald Technology Ventures, Manta Ray Ventures and Bits x Bites.
The consumer preference for naturalness is likely restricting the cultured material sector’s progress. While artificial food production systems are proliferating, as are the associated companies’ market shares, this growth is potentially being limited by how consumers perceive these products. According to a 2017 study, only one-third of Americans are willing to eat in vitro meat regularly. As long as consumers strongly prefer naturalness, according to the 2015 Meat Science report, investors will continue to be relatively averse to financing the development of artificial materials and foods. Yet even with this counterpressure, the global cultured meat market is predicted to grow by 15.7 percent between 2025 and 2032. Naturalness preferences are constraining, but not entirely halting, a large-scale shift toward artificially-made products.
“From a nutritional standpoint our products match the protein quality and content of the animal products that they replace” and “ours is a clear winner from a health and nutrition standpoint,” he said in a “Mad Money” interview.“This is why I think people are increasingly aware plant-based products are going to completely replace the animal-based products in the food world within the next 15 years. That’s our mission. That transformation is inevitable,” the told host Jim Cramer.
The ScaLABle-MEAT project, founded by Eurostar program, will develop a technology to produce lab-grown meat based on Nobel prize winning stem cell technology. The consortium is composed of four European companies: Meatable (Holland), Bit Bio (UK), Ebers (Spain) and HCS Pharma (France). It will deliver a technology platform consisting of bovine cell lines that are easily transformed into fat and muscle cells, a highly efficient cell expansion process, and a tailor-made bioreactor-scaffold combination to generate pieces of meat.
However, the industry needs to scale up to make those prices attractive to consumers. That will require large manufacturing facilities that rely heavily on automated machines and systems to overcome the industry’s largest barrier so far.The food industry is already heavily invested in automated systems, and it shouldn’t take long for this new industry to figure it out.While this new industry brings with it many advantages — like a softer environmental impact, a more humane way of producing food and a healthier product — it could result in severe impacts to several industries.
Ranchers are offended by the rise of meat made from plants, as well as the promise of clean meat grown directly from cells. That’s why they are pushing bills designed to outlaw the use of the word “meat” and related terms on the labels of plant-based and cell-based meat.