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Europe lags behind in lab grown meat race

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

The UK took 1% of global investment for cultured meat projects. Pictured: 3DBT's pork steak made from cultured cells
The UK took 1% of global investment for cultured meat projects. Pictured: 3DBT's pork steak made from cultured cells

Related tags alternative protein cultured meat

UK cultured meat projects took home the fifth highest share of global investment, but Europe is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to lab grown meat, according to a new report by R&D tax relief specialist GovGrant.

While the UK has claimed the fifth spot on the table, it has only attracted 1% of global investment in lab grown meat, worth £28.55m. The US claimed the biggest piece of the pie, will 60% of all investment into cultured meat going into the country.

Sitting above the UK in rankings was Singapore, which saw almost four times the amount of money invested in lab grown meat projects across fewer companies (£100.67m).

Lagging behind

Despite the Netherlands pulling £123.92m of investment for cultured meat development, Europe as a whole was lagging behind the rest of the world at a time where global consumption of these product was set to ramp up – a quarter of global consumption by 2035.

“Even with the uptick in investment since the start of the decade, ​[Europe] is arguably falling considerably short when considering the lofty market expectations that will be taking fruition in the near future,” ​said GovGrant.

“With the European market for cultured meat expected to be considerably smaller than other major regions it may somewhat explain the lacking domestic investment. But funding is still needed to overcome industry hurdles and face off fierce competition from international players. At the current rate, Europe will have to settle for dishing out seconds.”

Lab grown meat patents

Even in Europe, just three of the 10 companies filing patents for lab grown meat were Eruopean – HigherSteaks (UK), Mosa Meat (Netherlands) & Biotech Foods (Spain). GovGrant warned that European business could get pushed out of the market if it didn’t step up its game.

Most of the top non-European companies are filing for European patents through the European Patent Office (EPO), which, if granted will granted them rights throughout all designated states, not just a specific territory (like a UK patent would),”​ it added.  

“This is expected behaviour from non-European companies looking to enter Europe as it eases the administrative and cost burden for them. Because a European patent provides a ‘blanket’ protection it can prevent European companies from obtaining national patent protection.

“With this knowledge, could European companies be doing more to keep ahead of the game and not let themselves be fenced out of this technology?”

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