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    Tracking the cell-based meat space

    A look at the latest investments, partnerships and developments in the race to change the way the world gets its meat.

    Updated December 8, 2021 • By Megan Poinski

    ell-based meat once sounded like an idea out of science fiction. Now, it’s a reality.

    At the end of 2020, there were more than 70 startups across the globe working on making meat, seafood, and animal fat and organs from cells, according to the Good Food Institute. As of the end of last year, these companies, which all aim to serve meat without slaughtering animals, received more than $350 million from investors to work on R&D, build facilities, hire employees and expand their reach.

     

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    Consumers in Singapore can even eat cell-based chicken. Eat Just received the world’s first regulatory approval for a cultivated meat product from the government of the Asian island nation in November 2020.

    Meanwhile, governments across the globe are working to develop their own rules and regulations for this new segment, determining how products can be safely made and distributed, as well as figuring out how they should be labeled. Companies are working with regulators to ensure they are ready to apply for approval as soon as possible.

    These companies are also making prototypes, working to improve technology and decrease costs and scale up. They’re partnering with food companies around the world so that once they receive regulatory approval, they have a pathway to market — and to making a difference in the industry.

    • December 2021

    Aleph Farms partners with Wacker to create open-source growth medium proteins

    The partnership will make non-animal-sourced proteins used for growth medium readily available to any company. Growth medium is one of the most expensive components for cultivated meat, and Aleph Farms says the agreement will help bring the cost to parity with animal meat.

    • December 2021

    Meat-Tech 3D creates 3.67 ounce cultivated steak

    The steak, the largest cell-based one produced to date, was made through 3D printing of stem-cell-infused bioinks, which differentiated into muscle and fat components.

    • November 2021

    JBS to acquire BioTech Foods, invest $100M in plant construction

    This is the first Big Food acquisition in the space. The global meat leader plans to build a new plant for Spain-based BioTech Foods, as well as construct a R&D center for cultivated meat in its home country of Brazil.

    • November 2021

    Shiok Meats adds to its bridge funding round

    Cultured Seafood Investors LLC and Yi Sung Yong, CEO of Singapore-based cloud kitchen Grain added to the oversubscribed round. The amount was not disclosed, but the company says it has raised $30 million to date.

    • November 2021

    Upside Foods opens pilot facility and innovation center

    The 53,000-square-foot campus in California can make 50,000 pounds of cultivated meat per year.

    • October 2021

    Nutreco and Mosa Meat receive nearly 2M euros from the REACT-EU program

    The grant will be used to further decrease the cost of cell growth medium, using food-grade items from Nutreco’s supply chain.

    • October 2021

    Mission Barns enters agreement with Silva Sausage for plant-based sausage with cell-based fat

    The companies produced a run at scale of Mission Chorizo Sausage to show the partnership. No target launch date has been set yet.

    • October 2021

    Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary enter strategic partnership with Meat-Tech 3D

    The actor and investor and the Israel-based influencer have partnered with the publicly traded company to accelerate its growth and commercialize its products. They will serve in advisory roles to the company.

    • September 2021

    Aleph Farms partners with Thai Union and CJ CheilJedang for cell-based meat sales in Asia

    The companies signed memoranda of understanding to accelerate Aleph’s scale-up and go-to-market activities, as well as use their existing distribution channels for cultivated meat.

    • September 2021

    New Age Meats raises $25M Series A round

    The California company making cell-based sausage plans to double the size of its workforce, build a 20,000-square-foot pilot manufacturing facility and improve product taste. Pending regulatory approval, New Age Meats is aiming for a 2022 launch.

    • September 2021

    Leonardo DiCaprio invests in Aleph Farms and Mosa Meat

    The Academy Award-winning actor said he supports ways to transform the food system, and cultivated beef can solve some of the pressing environmental issues of industrial beef production.

    • September 2021

    Eat Just gets additional $97M for Good Meat

    Combined with the funding round announced four months ago, this $267 million represents the largest single investment round in the cell-based meat space. The company also announced former USDA Secretary Dan Glickman joined its advisory board.

     

    • September 2021

    Peace of Meat makes 700 grams cultured chicken fat in a single production run

    This is the largest quantity of non-animal fat made at once, and demonstrates capabilities for a product parent company Meat-Tech 3D hopes to bring to market in 2022.

    • September 2021

    Meatable and DSM enter development agreement for growth medium and products

    The ingredients and biotech producer will work to make a less expensive solution in which cells are grown, as well as work on mouthfeel and texture of finished products. DSM Venturing participated in Meatable’s most recent funding round.

    • September 2021

    BlueNalu partners with Nomad Foods to bring cell-based seafood to Europe

    The agreement between Europe’s leading frozen food company and the California-based cultured seafood company is the first of its kind in Europe.

    • September 2021

    USDA asks for comments on labeling for cell-based meat

    A 60-day comment period opened to gather input on how cell-based products should be labeled, how they fit into existing standards of identity, how they should appear on product labels, and what aspects will attract consumers.

    • September 2021

    Seawith plans launch of steak costing $3 per kilogram by 2024

    The South Korean company uses ocean-based materials — scaffolding from seaweed and a growth medium from microalgae — for its Welldone cultured steaks.

    • September 2021

    Meat-Tech 3D applies for patent to use stem cells for cultured fat

    The company differentiates embryonic stem cells so that some will produce fat, allowing for intra-muscular fat development like in animal-based meat. The technology could also be used for cultured fat.

    • August 2021

    Eat Just announces plans to build pilot plant in Qatar

    The plant, which could cost around $200M, is being built as part of a partnership with Doha Venture Capital and Qatar Free Zones Authority, with the venture firm bearing much of the cost, CEO Josh Tetrick said. Completion is expected in 2023.

    • August 2021

    Shiok Meats holds tasting of cell-based crab meat

    The world’s first cultured crab tasting was at a Singapore restaurant and featured crab cakes and chili crab.

    • August 2021

    Vow partners with Nourish Ingredients to make cell-based meat with animal-free fat

    The two Australian companies will join forces to create final products that have a mouthfeel and texture more similar to animal meat.

    • August 2021

    Upside Foods partners with Dominique Crenn to serve cell-based chicken

    The Michelin-starred chef will serve Upside’s cell-based chicken at Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, and she will provide the company with culinary counsel and recipe development assistance.

     

    • August 2021

    Shiok Meats buys Gaia Foods

    The seafood company bought a 90% stake in the company concentrating on cell-based red meats and also headquartered in Singapore.

    • July 2021

    Shiok Meats raises about $10M in bridge round

    Investors include South Korean food delivery giant Woowa Brothers, food manufacturer CJ CheilJedang, Vietnamese seafood exporter Vinh Hoan, Japan’s Toyo Seikan; Australia’s Twynam Investments; Switzerland’s Beyond Impact; the UAE’s Mindshift Capital; South Korea’s Irongrey; Monde Nissin CEO Henry Soesanto; and Big Idea Ventures, Boom Capital, and The Alexander Payne Living Trust.

    • July 2021

    Nestlé is working with Future Meat Technologies on cell-based meat

    This is the first partnership disclosed between a cell-based meat company and traditional food company. Sources close to Nestlé say the company wants to develop alternative meat products that blend plant-based ingredients and cell-based meat

    • July 2021

    Meat-Tech 3D signs a letter of intent to develop cell-based products with Tiv Ta’am Holdings Group

    The cell-based meat maker plans to cooperate with the Israeli grocer and food company on R&D, work together on establishing a cultivated meat facility and work together on marketing and licensing.

    • July 2021

    Aleph Farms closes $105M funding round

    The Israel-based company will use the money to prepare for a 2022 launch to scale up manufacturing, grow internal operations and expand product lines and tech.

     

    • June 2021

    SuperMeat unveils its poultry manufacturing platform

    The Israel company showcased a variety of products it can make from cultivated chicken cells — both for humans and pets — at an event at its tasting restaurant and pilot plant.

    • June 2021

    Wildtype’s pilot plant begins operation

    The cell-based seafood company began operating its combination pilot plant, tasting room and educational center in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. The demonstration-scale plant is about 7,700 square feet.

    • June 2021

    Future Meat Technologies’ pilot plant comes online

    The industrial-scale pilot plant in Rehovot, Israel, can produce 500 kilograms of cultured meat a day, which is the equivalent of 5,000 hamburgers.

    • May 2021

    Eat Just gets $170M investment for cultured meat

    The new investment comes from funds managed by entities including UBS O’Connor, Graphene Ventures and K3 Ventures. It will be used to increase capacity and accelerate R&D for cultured meat.

    • May 2021

    Memphis Meats changes name to Upside Foods

    The company rebrands to a more consumer-focused name that it says spotlights the positive aspects of cell-based meat. Upside Foods also announced its first product will be cell-based chicken.

    • May 2021

    Aleph Farms selected for the ‘Rakia’ Mission to space

    The company’s Aleph Zero project, focusing on growing cultivated meat in microgravity, is one of the 44 experiments that will be launched to the International Space Station in early 2022.

    • April 2021

    BlueNalu signs MOUs with Thai Union and Mitsubishi

    These agreements will assess market development strategies to bring cultured seafood to Asia.

    • April 2021

    Orbillion Bio closes $5M seed round

    The Silicon Valley company will cultivate heritage meats, including wagyu beef, elk, sheep and American bison.

    • March 2021

    Meatable gets $47M investment

    The funds will be used to develop a small-scale production facility at the Biotech Campus Delft in the Netherlands, as well as to add beef to Meatable’s product offerings.

     

    • March 2021

    Eat Just gets $200M investment

    The funding round was led by the Qatar Investment Authority, which is the sovereign wealth fund of the Middle Eastern nation. The company will use the money to build capacity, accelerate R&D and grow its brands in international markets.

    • March 2021

    SuperMeat opens “The Chicken,” a restaurant for testing cultured meat

    Guests can apply for a table at the Tel Aviv-based testing kitchen, which allows diners to see work ongoing in the company’s plant.

    • March 2021

    Meat-Tech 3D makes its IPO on Nasdaq

    U.S. trading of the cell-based meat company opened at $10.30.

    • March 2021

    Aleph Farms partners with BRF to bring cultivated meat to Brazil

    Under the memorandum of understanding, these two companies will develop and co-produce cultivated meat using Aleph’s BioFarm platform. BRF will distribute Aleph-backed cultivated beef products in the South American nation.

    • February 2021

    Mosa Meat raises $10M to scale cell-based meat

    The company plans to use the funds to extend its pilot plant, develop an industrial-sized production line, expand its team and introduce cultured beef to consumers. Investors include Nutreco and Just Eat Takeaway.com CEO Jitse Groen.

    • February 2021

    Aleph Farms unveils world’s first cell-based ribeye steak

    The steak was made by Aleph Farms and biomedical researchers at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology through 3D bioprinting. Living cells were printed into a shape, and were then incubated to grow, interact and differentiate, allowing the cell-based meat to take on more of the characteristics of a conventional steak.

    • February 2021

    Future Meat Technologies lowers cost to $7.50 and gets $26.75M in funds

    The breakthrough, achieved through partnerships and a reusable plant-based growth medium, brings the cost of a cell-based chicken breast within striking distance of price parity with animal-based chicken. The funding will be used to grow the company.

    • January 2021

    Novameat creates world’s largest cell-based meat piece

    The Spanish company’s piece of meat on a plant-based scaffold is 22,500 cubic millimeters in volume.

    • January 2021

    BlueNalu gets $60M in debt financing

    The company will use the funds to open a 40,000-square-foot headquarters and pilot plant in San Diego, California, where it will be able to make enough mahi-mahi to appear on restaurant menus soon after it gets approval from the FDA.

    • January 2021

    Aleph Farms partners with Mitsubishi to bring cultivated meat to Japan

    The Israel-based company signed a memorandum of understanding with Mitsubishi Corporation’s Food Industry Group to bring cultivated meat to Japan.

    • December 2020

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the first head of state to taste cell-based meat

    Netanyahu tried Aleph Farms’ cell-based steak at an event co-sponsored by the company and GFI Israel. “It’s delicious and guilt-free, I can’t taste the difference,” he said.

    • December 2020

    Mosa Meat raises $19.7M

    Blue Horizon Ventures led the round, which had participation from Mitsubishi Corp., ArcTern Ventures and Rubio Impact Ventures. Mitsubishi will work with Mosa Meat on developing better growth media.

    • December 2020

    Eat Just gets world’s first regulatory approval for cell-based chicken in Singapore

    The U.S. company plans to sell its Good Meat-branded chicken bites in restaurants in the Asian island nation.

    • November 2020

    Aleph Farms debuts prototype of thin-cut beef steak

    The company debuted the prototype of its first commercial product at a cooking demo at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit in Singapore.

    • October 2020

    Aleph Farms launches ‘Aleph Zero’ program to establish meat cultivation in space

    The company is working to secure partnerships with tech companies and space agencies for long-term collaborative research.

    • September 2020

    Shiok Meats raises $12.6M

    The investment was led by Aqua-Spark, and will go toward construction of a pilot plant.

    • September 2020

    Mosa Meat raises $55M

    The Dutch company plans to use the funds to extend its pilot plant, develop an industrial-sized production line, expand its team and work toward a product launch.

    • September 2020

    Meat-Tech 3D creates daughter company Chick&Tech

    The Meat-Tech 3D-affiliated company will be dedicated to producing plant-based chicken.

    • August 2020

    Meat-Tech 3D prints first piece of tissue from stem cells

    The successful completion of “Project Carpaccio” came from 3D printing several types of cells, followed by a growth process in which they joined into a single thin piece of meat.

     

    July 2020

    3D Bioprinting Solutions announces it will bring cell-based meat to KFC in Russia

    The Russian company, which had previously used 3D printing to make glands, organs and tissues for medical uses, plans to have products for internal testing in the fall. July 2020

    Mosa Meat reduces the cost of growth medium by 88 times

    The newly developed growth medium is from plants and does not use fetal bovine serum.

    • July 2020

    BlueNalu partners with Pulmuone

    The South Korean food company, which previously invested in BlueNalu, will work with the cell-based seafood maker on market, regulatory, operations and distribution issues with an eye on bringing BlueNalu’s products to its market.

    • June 2020

    BlueNalu partners with Griffith Foods on product development

    The science-based food ingredients company will help the cultivated seafood maker in aspects of food science, culinary arts, market insights and sensory optimization.

    • June 2020

    Mosa Meat gets the keys to its pilot plant

    The small-scale factory in Maastricht, in the Netherlands, is where the company plans to produce some of its first products for market.

    • February 2020

    BlueNalu gets $20M investment

    The funding round was co-led by Stray Dog Capital, CPT Capital, New Crop Capital and Clear Current Capital, and will be used to move the Southern California company into a larger facility for R&D and a production facility that could make hundreds of pounds of seafood a week. The company plans to produce cell-based mahi mahi for a test market by 2021 January 2020

    Memphis Meats raises $161M to build a pilot plant

    In this largest-to-date investment round in the space, the California-based company received funds from SoftBank Group, Norwest and Temasek, but also meat giants Cargill and Tyson Foods, and celebrity business leaders Richard Branson and Bill Gates. The plant, which will be in the San Francisco Bay area, is slated to be operational in about two years. The oversubscribed funding round eventually closed at $186 million. January 2020

    BlueNalu enters partnership with Nutreco

    Nutreco will bring its animal feed and supply chain expertise to help BlueNalu produce cell-based seafood.

    • January 2020

    Mosa Meat gets investments and partnerships from Nutreco and Lowercarbon Capital

    The investment amounts were not disclosed, but Nutreco will help with production of growth medium for cells. January 2020

    New Age Meats gets $2.7M investment

    The cell-based pork sausage maker will use the funds to grow its team and get more equipment. December 2019

    BlueNalu demonstrates cultivated yellowtail amberjack

    The California company prepared fish tacos, seafood bisque, poke and kimchi dishes made with the cultivated white fish.

    • December 2019

    Meatable raises $10M for cell-based pork

    The Dutch company is developing meat using a technology built on 2012 Nobel Prize-winning research on how cells develop. It’s been said this technology can produce large batches of cells to make meat in a matter of days to weeks. November 2019

    Avant Meats has taste test of cultured fish maw

    The Hong Kong startup cultivated the cells for the Chinese delicacy from croaker fish.

    • October 2019

    Shiok Meats gets $500K investment

    Animal product alternative investors Agronomics, gave the company a loan that will convert to approximately a 2.3% share in the company.

    • October 2019

    Future Meat Technologies gets $14M investment

    The Israel-based company plans to use this funding to build a pilot plant that can produce an amount of meat equivalent to 1,500 chickens or five cows each month in a vessel the size of a refrigerator.

    • October 2019

    Meat-Tech 3D goes public in Israel through SPAC acquisition

    The Israel-based company became the world’s first cell-based meat company to be publicly traded.

    • September 2019

    Aleph Farms and 3D Bioprinting Solutions produce cell-based meat in space

    The companies used a specialized bioprinter to create muscle tissue on the International Space Station.

    • August 2019

    Cell-based meat and seafood producers form alliance

    Memphis Meats, Eat Just, Fork & Goode, BlueNalu and Finless Foods are charter members of the Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation. The organization will lobby lawmakers, educate consumers about cell-based meat and serve as a marketplace of ideas for members. August 2019

    Integriculture has taste test of cell-based foie gras

    The Japanese company had a private taste test of its liver-based delicacy.

    • June 2019

    Wildtype hosts cell-based salmon tasting

    The company prepared its cultivated salmon several ways at a Portland, Oregon event.

    • May 2019

    Cargill invests in Aleph Farms

    The $12 million investment round for the Israel-based company was led by VisVires New Protein. Strauss Group and other venture capitalists also participated.

    • March 2019

    Shiok Meats raises $4.6M and tests cell-based shrimp

    Funds came from Monde Nissin Corp. CEO Henry Soesanto, Y Combinator and Tyson Foods-backed Big Idea Ventures, and the company had a tasting of cell-based shrimp in steamed dumplings. The company says it can produce a kilogram of shrimp for $5,000.

    • March 2019

    FDA and USDA issue formal agreement on joint regulation

    The formal agreement codifies the agencies’ regulatory announcement from November 2018.

    • January 2019

    Cubiq Foods raises 12M euros

    The Spanish cell-based fat producer will use 5 million euros to build an R&D laboratory and pilot plant that can produce 5.6 million tons of fat a year.

    • January 2019

    Shiok Meats is founded

    The Singapore-based company, which hopes to replicate crab, lobster and shrimp, is the first company of its kind to start in Southeast Asia.

    • December 2018

    Aleph Farms produces cell-based minute steak

    The thin cut delivers “the full experience of meat with the appearance, shape and texture of beef cuts,” the company said.

    • December 2018

    Just announces partnership with Toriyama to produce wagyu beef

    Under the terms of the partnership, Eat Just will grow the renowned beef from Toriyama cell lines. The partnership intends to make the exclusive beef available to more restaurants and at more price points.

    • November 2018

    FDA and USDA will jointly regulate cell-based meat

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will have oversight on cell collection, banks and growth and differentiation. When cells are harvested, oversight will transfer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which will regulate production and labeling of the resulting food products. FDA will have sole jurisdiction over cell-based seafood.

    • July 2018

    Mosa Meat gets $8.8M investment

    The Dutch company’s funding round was led by Merck’s venture capital arm M Ventures and Switzerland’s Bell Food Group.

    • June 2018

    Finless Foods gets $3.5M investment

    The seed round was led by Draper Associates, and funds will be used for R&D and increasing scale.

    • June 2018

    BlueNalu emerges from stealth

    The San Diego-based cell-based seafood company comes public with a “significant” investment from New Crop Capital.

    • May 2018

    Future Meat Technologies is established, gets $2.2M in a round led by Tyson

    The investment in the cultured meat company is Tyson’s first in Israel. Other investors in this round include Neto Group, S2G Ventures, BitsXBites, HB Ventures and Agrinnovation.

    • May 2018

    Aleph Farms develops tech to improve composition of cultivated meat

    The Israel-based company uses a combination of four different cell types and grows them on a three-dimensional platform.

    • March 2018

    Wildtype closes $3.5M investment round

    Funders in this round include Spark Capital, Root Ventures and Mission Bay Capital.

    • January 2018

    Finless Foods cuts production costs by 50%

    The California cell-based seafood company says it hopes to achieve price parity with bluefin tuna by 2019. Read more ➔

    • January 2018

    SuperMeat raises $3M

    The Israel-based company’s seed round was led by New Crop Capital and Stray Dog Capital. Sirius Ventures and PHW also participated.

    • September 2017

    Finless Foods creates first cell-based fish cakes

    The cell-based carp and potato fish cakes were produced at a cost of $19,000 per pound of fish.

    • August 2017

    Cargill invests in Memphis Meats

    The investment, the size of which was not revealed, is the first made in the cell-based space by a traditional meat company. It’s part of a $17 million Series A funding round.