Branson and Cargill invest in ‘lab meat’ firm

By Matt Atherton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Memphis Meats has now raised more than £17M to date (Flickr/duco_events)
Memphis Meats has now raised more than £17M to date (Flickr/duco_events)
Billionaire business tycoons Richard Branson and Bill Gates have joined Cargill in an investment for ‘lab meat’ producer Memphis Meats.

The US-based producer – which has now raised £17M ($22M) to date – will use the investment to cut production costs to below conventional meat costs.

Memphis Meats, which produces meat directly from animal cells without the need to breed or slaughter them (see video below), will also increase its production capacity, and quadruple its number of workers, it confirmed on Thursday (August 23).

“I’m thrilled to have invested in Memphis Meats,”​ Branson told Bloomberg. “I believe that in 30 years or so we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone.”

Memphis Meats co-founder and ceo Uma Valeti said: “We’re going to bring meat to the plate in a more sustainable, affordable and delicious way. Meat demand is growing rapidly around the world. We want the world to keep eating what it loves.

‘Accelerate our progress’

“However, the way conventional meat is produced today creates challenges for the environment, animal welfare and human health. These are problems that everyone wants to solve, and we can solve them by bringing this incredible group of partners under one tent. This group will help us accelerate our progress significantly.”

Cargill invested in Memphis Meats to grow its protein business, and to provide its customers with “a complete basket of goods”​.

Cargill Protein president of growth ventures Sonya McCullum Roberts said: “Our investment in Memphis Meats is an exciting way for Cargill to explore the potential in this growing segment of the protein market.

‘Expanded protein choices’

“Memphis Meats has the potential to provide our customers and consumers with expanded protein choices and is aligned with our mission to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.”

Memphis Meats – which created, what it claimed to be, the world’s first poultry made by growing animal cells in March – was creating a food system that was safe, good for the planet, and good for animals, according to the Good Food Institute.

The institute’s executive director Bruce Friedrich said: “Memphis Meats is doing amazing work to make this vision a reality. We are excited to welcome a meat industry leader into the fold, and I believe they have enormous potential to support and accelerate this work.

“For animal welfare and environmental advocates, today is a huge step forward.”

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