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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-b