Meat replacement tech start-up Hoxton Farms scoops award

By Rod Addy contact

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Jamilly: 'Life changing opportunity for our start-up'
Jamilly: 'Life changing opportunity for our start-up'

Related tags: Meat & Seafood, Ingredients & nutrition, Technology & Automation

A novel form of speciality fats production has won start-up Hoxton Farms the food and drink category award at The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2020.

The company is using mathematical modelling and machine learning to expand and differentiate adult stem cells to make what it terms 'cultivated meat products'. The approach is different to existing cultured meat processes, but the company remains reluctant to discuss the exact method. The award ceremony was held virtually on 30 September.

Each winner gains £20,000 prize money, as well as 12 months’ one-on-one support from a specially assigned Royal Society of Chemistry mentor, and a further £20,000 available as a business acceleration grant.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has really thrown into relief lots of issues that we face with food security and meat production," said ​Max Jamilly, co-founder of Hoxton Farms. "With this life changing opportunity for our start up, and the support and confidence it has given us, we now have a real chance to make a difference with our work.”

'Compelling pitch'

Ellen Norman, principal scientist at RSSL and a competition judge in the Food & Drink category of the awards said: “Hoxton Farms gave a compelling pitch across the area they’re working in and their unusual approach, and their ability to adapt their plan has the potential to make a huge impact in the future.” 

"Their technology, uses cutting edge computer modelling to design, and test novel systems for culturing speciality fats. Initially they are looking at fats that can be used in meat replacement products, to make them tastier, one of the food industries hottest trends. But the technology will have applications in the wider food industry, and the use of in silico modelling will enable both faster reactions to changing trends and a more rapid route to market, so congrats to Max and his team​.”

Jo Reynolds, director of science & communities at the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “Our winners have succeeded in a very competitive field of finalists and for that they deserve enormous praise. Our judges had a really difficult job and that’s testament to the quality on show.

“The recovery from the economic blows delivered by COVID will be long and arduous but it is innovations like these that show how chemistry can help drive economic growth and counter threats to environmental and human health, so it’s exciting to see how our finalists this year will contribute towards those goals.”

Judges from companies including PepsiCo, RSSL and Unilever

Judges hailed from a host of international companies, including AstraZeneca, Boots, Croda, Johnson Matthey, PepsiCo, Scott Bader, Reckitt Benckiser, RSSL, and Unilever. Despite the online format, finalists were still able to engage directly with them and learn from some of the best in the business. 

Reynolds added: “We’re delighted that this spirit and connection has continued, albeit virtually this year, and very much look forward to tracking the progress of our latest winners as they join the illustrious winners who have gone before them.” 

The winners in the other categories were:

  • Enabling Technologies: Chromosol, ​allowing for the future integration of electronic and optical communications systems resulting in greater data transfer rates with reduced power usage.
  • Energy & Environment: Viridi CO2, ​engineering porous catalysts capable of transforming CO2 into polyurethane feedstock materials that can help to reduce reliance on petrochemicals.
  • Health​: University of Bath,​ developing ensilication technology that can stabilise vaccines without refrigerators, enabling an extra 2 million people every year to be saved from vaccine-preventable diseases.

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1 comment

Well done Hoxton Farms!

Posted by Helen Munday, CSO Food and Drink Federation, President IFST,

I was delighted to be another of the judge's in the food and drink category and I can totally endorse head judge Ellen's comments. A very exciting innovation.

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