Alternative meat: cultivated pork next on MeaTech's agenda

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

MeaTech is developing a cell-based alternative to traditional pork. iStock Credit: robertsre
MeaTech is developing a cell-based alternative to traditional pork. iStock Credit: robertsre

Related tags: Meat & Seafood, Npd, Technology & Automation

Israel-based alternative meat company MeaTech 3D is researching the mass production of cell-based pork (or cultivated pork).

The expansion of the technology company's research and development (R&D) activities to include pork was announced today (6 July) and forms part of its strategy to develop a broad cellular agriculture technology offering. Such an offering already includes beef and chicken cell lines.

Porcine cellular agriculture, if successfully developed, would have the potential to expand MeaTech’s potential addressable markets, it claimed.

MeaTech expected its initial R&D to focus on developing stable porcine cell lines, which would have the potential to initiate cultivated pork biomass production capabilities.

Agricultural revolution

“Our goal is to lead the upcoming agricultural revolution by making tomorrow's meat safe, plentiful, sustainable, and ethical,"​ said MeatTech chief executive officer Sharon Fima.

"MeaTech is developing a broad range of cultured meat technologies, developing potential alternatives to conventional factory farming of beef, chicken and now, pork.

"We believe that offering additional cultivated meat product lines can widen our addressable markets, generating additional revenue potential. Our goal is to be similar in all respects to livestock-farmed pork meat, while offering a significantly more sustainable and slaughter-free production method.”

MeaTech, which began developing advanced manufacturing technologies for the production of alternative protein products in 2019 is headquartered in Ness Ziona, Israel, with a subsidiary in Antwerp, Belgium.

Bioprinting

In addition to exploring cell-based meat technologies, the company is looking into enhancing plant-based foods with real meat. It has a particular focus on the development of high-throughput bioprinting systems to produce what it describes as premium, centre-of-plate meat products, such as steak.

MeaTech aims to develop the technology to produce end-products. It also intends to license its technologies to customers along the meat and alternative protein supply chain, such as added-value processors and brands.

The company believes cultivated meat technologies hold significant potential to improve meat production, simplify the meat supply chain, and offer consumers a range of new product offerings.

Aleph Farms secures fresh funds for cultivated beef steaks

Meanwhile, Israel's Aleph Farms, the cultivated meat company growing steaks directly from non-genetically modified animal cells, has announced the completion of a $105m Series B funding round.

The funding was led by the Growth Fund of L Catterton, the largest global consumer-focused private equity firm, and DisruptAD, one of the largest venture platforms in the Middle East.

The initiative was also backed by Skyviews Life Science and a consortium of global food and meat companies, including Thai Union, BRF, and CJ CheilJedang. Existing investors, including VisVires New Protein, Strauss Group, Cargill, Peregrine Ventures, and CPT Capital, participated as well. To date, Aleph Farms, which is based in Rehovot, has raised more than $118m.

The company said it planned to use the funds to execute its plans for large scale global commercialization of cultivated beef steaks and portfolio expansion.

Preparing for 2022 market launch

Short-term goals include scaling-up manufacturing, growing operations internationally, and expanding its product lines and technology platform ahead of an initial market launch in 2022. The company is working with regulatory agencies on its plans for market entry.   

As a strategic partner to DisruptAD, Aleph Farms said it would evaluate the establishment of a manufacturing facility in Abu Dhabi to supply its cultivated meat products across the United Arab Emirates and the broader Gulf Cooperation Council region.

Didier Toubia, co-founder and chief executive officer of Aleph Farms, said the fresh cash injection 'brings us significantly closer to our vision of providing secure and unconditional access to high-quality nutrition to anyone, anytime, anywhere'.

"We see our investors as partners for building this new category of meat and it was critical to us that they share our strong commitment to improving the sustainability of our global food systems.”​ 

Michael Farello, a managing partner at L Catterton’s Growth Fund said: "With cultivated whole-muscle cut steaks, an optimised platform for cost parity at scale, and a global partnership network with the world’s largest meat producers, Aleph Farms has differentiated itself as the leading cultivated meat company poised to go to market."

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