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         US$280,000 lab-grown burger could be a more palatable US$10 in two years

         Fresh from the lab: Startups make meat that avoids slaughter



US$280,000 lab-grown burger could be a more palatable US$10 in two years


The Straits Times (Singapore)

July 9, 2019 


MADRID/ZURICH (REUTERS) - Lab-grown meat, first introduced to the world six years ago in the form of a US$280,000 hamburger, could hit supermarket shelves at US$10 (S$13) a patty within two years, European start-ups told Reuters.


Consumers concerned about climate change, animal welfare and their own health are fueling interest in so-called clean meat, with the number of associated business start-ups climbing from four at the end of 2016 to more than two dozen two years later, according to the Good Food Institute market researcher.


Plant-based meat alternatives are also booming.


Shares in Beyond Meat have more than tripled in price since its initial public offering in May. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods each sell 100 per cent plant-based meat alternatives to retailers and fast food chains across the United States.


And cultured meat grown from animal cells could be next on the mainstream menu, with producers eyeing regulatory approval as they improve the technology and reduce costs.


It was Dutch start-up Mosa Meat's co-founder Mark Post who created the first "cultured" beef hamburger in 2013 at a cost of 250,000, funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, but Mosa Meat and Spain's Biotech Meats say that production costs have fallen dramatically since then.


"The burger was this expensive in 2013 because back then it was novel science and we were producing at very small scale. Once production is scaled up, we project the cost of producing a hamburger will be around 9," a Mosa Meat spokeswoman told Reuters, adding that it could ultimately become even cheaper than a conventional hamburger.




Biotech Foods co-founder Mercedes Vila also highlighted the importance of moving from lab to factory.


"Our goal is to reach production scale and have regulatory approval by 2021," Vila said.


She said the average cost of producing a kilogram of cultured meat is now about 100(S$152), significantly below the US$800 cited a year ago by Future Meat Technologies, an Israeli biotech company that has received funding from US meat processor Tyson Foods.


Biotech Foods, Mosa Meat and Higher Steaks, a London-based competitor also contacted by Reuters, have yet to file applications for EU approval because they are still working to improve their growth serum.


To make cultured meat, stem cells from the muscle of an animal are placed in a culture medium that is then put in a bioreactor - similar to those used for fermentation of beer and yoghurt - to support growth of new strands of muscle tissue.


Liz Specht, associate director at the Good Food Institute market research firm that focuses on meat alternatives, said in a white paper this year that it was likely that cell-based meat would achieve price parity with conventional meat once production is on an industrial scale.


Specht identified the cell culture medium as the most significant cost driver and said it was possible to produce it without animal-derived components and at much lower prices.







Fresh from the lab: Startups make meat that avoids slaughter


By Terence Chea, Associated Press

via WWMT (MI) - July 9th 2019


EMERYVILLE, Calif. (AP) Uma Valeti slices into a pan-fried chicken cutlet in the kitchen of his startup, Memphis Meats. He sniffs the tender morsel on his fork before taking a bite. He chews slowly, absorbing the taste.


"Our chicken is chicken ... you've got to taste it to believe it," Valeti says.


This is no ordinary piece of poultry. No chicken was raised or slaughtered to harvest the meat. It was produced in a laboratory by extracting cells from a chicken and feeding them in a nutrient broth until the cell culture grew into raw meat.


Memphis Meats, based in Emeryville, California, is one of a growing number of startups worldwide that are making cell-based or cultured meat. They want to offer an alternative to traditional meat production that they say is damaging the environment and causing unnecessary harm to animals, but they are far from becoming mainstream and face pushback from livestock producers.


"You are ultimately going to continue the choice of eating meat for many generations to come without putting undue stress on the planet," said Valeti, a former cardiologist who co-founded Memphis Meats in 2015 after seeing the power of stem cells to treat disease.


The company, which also has produced cell-grown beef and duck, has attracted investments from food giants Cargill and Tyson Foods as well as billionaires Richard Branson and Bill Gates.


A report released in June by consulting firm A.T. Kearney predicts that by 2040, cultured meat will make up 35 percent of meat consumed worldwide, while plant-based alternatives will compose 25 percent.


"The large-scale livestock industry is viewed by many as an unnecessary evil," the report says...