In this file:
· Cargill invests in another company growing 'cultured meat' in a lab
· ‘We will start building bio-farms’: Clean meat company Aleph Farms talks growth ambitions
Cargill invests in another company growing 'cultured meat' in a lab
The Minnesota-based agriculture processor joined a $12 million investment in an Israeli firm.
By Kristen Leigh Painter, Star Tribune (MN)
May 14, 2019
Cargill Inc., one of the world’s largest meat producers, has invested in another company growing “cultured meat” in a lab.
The Minnetonka-based agribusiness joined others in a nearly $12 million funding round for Israeli startup Aleph Farms, which said in December that it was the first in the world to grow a beef steak from cattle cells in a lab.
Cargill’s precise investment wasn’t disclosed. The firm is positioning itself through investments to capitalize on innovations in meat alternatives and rising consumer interest in them. VisVires New Protein of Singapore led the funding round for Aleph.
This is Cargill’s second investment in a so-called “cultured meat” company. In 2017, it joined the likes of Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Tyson Foods in backing Memphis Meats, which claims to have produced the world’s first chicken strips from animal cells.
Advocates said cultured meat, also called cell-based or clean meat, is better for the environment and is more humane. The product comes from animals but doesn’t require the same resources to raise and slaughter as traditional meat.
The Good Food Institute (GFI), an interest group supporting the growth of plant-based and cell-based meat alternatives, applauded the investment.
“We’re just at the beginning of a tremendous growth period for the cell-based meat industry, which is being spurred on with the support of the world’s biggest meat companies,” Bruce Friedrich, executive director of GFI, said Tuesday in a statement.
“With global demand for meat set to double by 2050, capturing even a fraction of this burgeoning market would represent a massive opportunity for cell-based meat companies. Companies like Cargill recognize the immense investment opportunity to diversify their portfolios and reap the profits as this nascent industry takes form,” Friedrich said.
A recent report published by the group tallied 11 cell-based meat companies that were founded in 2018 alone, bringing the total globally to 27.
The emerging technology, however, is splintering the natural-foods community with influential voices, such as the Non-GMO Project, opposing the characterization of it being a “clean” meat. The group opposes synthetic biology in food until further testing proves its long-term effects on human health.
Apart from cultured meat, Cargill holds a minority stake in Minneapolis-based Puris, one of the nation’s leading providers of pea protein, which is used in a variety of vegan meat and dairy products, from yogurt to coffee creamer. Earlier this month, one of Puris’ largest customers, Beyond Meat, had the best market debut of 2019 with shares more than doubling in value in its first two weeks of trading. On Monday, Beyond Meat’s biggest rival, Impossible Foods, raised another $300 million funding...
‘We will start building bio-farms’: Clean meat company Aleph Farms talks growth ambitions
By Katy Askew, Food Navigator
Israeli cellular meat start-up Aleph Farms has secured a fresh injection of capital that will enable it to bring production of “slaughter free” cultured meat to commercial scale.
Aleph uses GM- and antibiotic-free starter cells taken from an animal biopsy and grows them into “real meat cuts” in a controlled, laboratory setting. The company claims its tech is unique because it can grow all four elements of meat - muscle, fat, blood vessels and connective tissue – together.
Aleph Farms’ unique technology, co-developed with Professor Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, relies on a natural process occurring in cows to regenerate and build muscle tissues. The company discovered a way to isolate the cells responsible for that process and grow them outside of the animal to form the same muscle tissue typical to steaks.
“Aleph Farms already demonstrated its ability to grow various cell types together, making a beef cut, and to ensure they form a 3D texture similar to meat. The difficulty [was] mimicking the same conditions as inside the cow for those cells to form the same tissue as they would,” Aleph Farms CEO and co-founder Didier Toubia told FoodNavigator.
This technology enables Aleph to grow a steak that meets consumer expectations around taste and texture, Toubia continued. “Consumers do not want to compromise on taste and we intend to create, juicy, delicious steak made of cow cells.”
The company unveiled its first minute steak late last year. The next step in the company’s business plan will be to bring production to commercial scale. “The main remaining gaps to bridge are related to scale-up and cost of commercial products,” Toubia revealed.
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