Food biotech firm opens central London cultivated fat research facility

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Hoxton Farms has opened the first pilot cultivated animal fat production facility in the UK. Credit: Hoxton Farms
Hoxton Farms has opened the first pilot cultivated animal fat production facility in the UK. Credit: Hoxton Farms

Related tags cultivated meat

Hoxton Farms has moved into a cultivated animal fat pilot facility on Old Street in London.

The new plant will be used to advance research, scaleup production and develop prototypes with customers, and is the first pilot cultivated animal fat production facility in the UK.

The 14,000 square foot site includes specialist cell culture laboratories, a food development kitchen, office space and communal areas. Hoxton Farms will manufacture its own bioreactors to support fat cell growth, with the design based on insights gleaned from the start-up’s computational biology and mathematical modelling platform.

The new facility will allow the biotech firm to produce 10 tonnes of cultivated fat each year, at a comparable cost to the production of plant oils on an industrial scale.

Hoxton Farms currently employs 40 people, including 15 PHDs, but now has the space to expand its team to 100 members of staff. Construction of the new facility and potential expansion of the team comes after a successful £20m Series A funding round in October 2022.

Cultivated meats and fats cannot be legally sold in the UK as it stands, although the first commercial application was submitted earlier this year by Aleph Farms​.

Bringing cellular agriculture ‘to the city’

Co-founder of Hoxton Farms Max Jamily believes that cultivated fat is the “missing ingredient​” in the search for delicious meat alternatives.

“It’s no secret that the traditional meat industry is broken, but consumers are disappointed when they seek quality alternatives​,” he explained.

[Cultivated fats] are key to unlocking the delicious taste and experience of the real thing without the environmental or ethical impact​.”

Meanwhile, fellow co-founder Ed Steele said that the pilot facility was "bringing cellular agriculture to the city​" where it could raise awareness and best attract customers, partners, investors and talent.

“We’re excited to work closely with industry stakeholders as we seek regulatory approval for our ingredient, and guide the industry towards a tastier, fattier future," ​Steele added.

Last year’s funding round was led by Collaborative Fund and Fine Structure Ventures, with further investment from Systemiq Capital, AgFunder, MCJ Collective, and previous investors Founders Fund, BACKED VC, Presight Capital, CPT Capital and Sustainable Food Ventures.

Speaking to faith shown in Hoxton Farms by Fine Structure Ventures, senior managing director Jennifer Uhrig said that while the market for meat alternatives projects to be worth $17.4bn (£14.2bn) by 2027, its progress is “being held back by the taste, smell and texture​”.

Hoxton Farms is tackling this challenge head on, unlocking the power of biology to reduce the impact of meat production on animals and the environment, while also adding that much-needed sensory experience for consumers​,” Uhrig added.

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