Tag: Lab-grown Meat

Jim Mellon, author of Moo's Law Jim Mellon, author of Moo's Law Jim Mellon, author of Moo's Law Jim Mellon, author of Moo's Law

Jim Mellon Invokes ‘Moo’s Law’ for CellAg Meat

Jim Mellon is a British investor and entrepreneur. His latest book, Moo’s Law: An Investor’s Guide to the New Agrarian Revolution, is available via Harriman House and Amazon.

The latest book by British tech investor Jim Mellon, Moo’s Law, explains why and how cultured meat technology will transform farming and revolutionize our food supply on a global level. In an interview with Supertrends, he discusses the growth and future prospects of cellular agriculture.

The title of Jim Mellon’s new book on the cultured meat business – “Moo’s Law” ­– really says it all: He wrote his “investor’s guide to the new agrarian revolution” because he believes that the trajectory of pricing in this industry will resemble what has happened to semiconductors in the past decades. The chairman of the Burnbrae private asset management group and largest shareholder of Agronomics, a UK-listed investment company specializing in modern foods and biotech, is convinced that industrialized farming is unsustainable, and that greener, cleaner meat alternatives free from antibiotics and many hormones are required. “The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating our awareness of the threat of zoonotic transmission, and the issue of antibiotic resistance in bacteria caused by intensive farming is gaining greater traction,” he said in an interview with Supertrends.

So what’s holding back the cellular agriculture revolution? While Mellon sees a few obstacles, he is confident they will soon be resolved. For example, the growth factors used to cultivate animal muscle cells are extremely expensive (on the order of millions of US$ per gram), since the biotech and pharmaceutical industries only require minuscule units.  Here, according to Mellon, “it’s only a matter of scale until the price comes down.” The same applies to bioreactors, which are needed at greater capacities and lower cost than those currently available on the market. Again, Mellon is convinced that the prices will eventually come down, with companies like Sartorius already developing 20,000- to 100,000-liter bioreactors.

Stamp of approval?

As far as regulatory issues are concerned, the decision in December 2020 by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) to approve cultured chicken for human consumption could pave the way for more endorsements by government bodies and food safety authorities, Mellon believes, with Israel possibly on track to follow suit. Seafood might be next, he says: “We anticipate that BlueNalu could get FDA approval for its mahi mahi seafood by the end of the year.” While the traditional meat industry has a much stronger lobby than seafood both in the US and Europe, he points out that trying to ban competitors didn’t work for the dairy industry, either, with alternative milks now holding more than 20 percent of the market, up from half a percent ten years ago. “I think the tipping point will be much faster than you would expect,” says Mellon.

In Europe and the US, he thinks it will be about 18 months before the first cultured meat companies get the green light from regulators. “Some more dynamic jurisdictions in regions that are dependent on food imports, such as Singapore, possibly Hong Kong, and in the Middle East will be accelerants of the approval process. While there are always glitches along the way in any industry, the general feeling among my colleagues and myself is that we will have mass adoption of cellular agriculture products within five years,” Mellon predicts. This might happen even earlier for materials that require no regulatory approval, such as cultured leather or textiles.

Customer acceptance

Studies show that younger cohorts of potential customers better understand the environmental and animal cruelty issues associated with intensive animal farming than older consumers. “The expectation is that in the US, about 70 percent of consumers would give cell ag meat and seafood a try. But we know it’s ultimately about cost, convenience, taste, and texture,” Mellon believes. Despite the benefits to the environment and human health, the price tag in supermarkets will still determine whether consumers are willing to adopt cultured meat en masse.

Will we see any IPOs by cultured meat companies in the near term, considering that it might take some time before they start delivering the kinds of profits that cause excitement in the market? “I don’t see any indication that any of these cell ag companies want to go public in the very near term, but we’ll see significant rollout of their products, and therefore some revenue at least. There’s more than enough venture capital available to satisfy their needs at the moment,” says Mellon, who thinks that the first company might go public in about three years’ time. “It’s a technology that is disruptive at every level. That’s why big food companies are already investing in this sector to a limited extent,” he notes. “They know which side their bread is buttered on.”

Want to hear more from Jim Mellon? Watch the book launch of Moo’s Law featuring Mark Post and Lou Cooperhouse.


Stay in the know with the Supertrends Cultured Meat Report

Meat substitutes based on plants and other protein sources are rapidly gaining popularity, with many stores and supermarkets now featuring a section reserved for these foods. Many estimates suggest cultured meat could reach the shelves within a decade. As such, once it becomes widely available, Cultured Meat is poised to become the new billion-dollar industry. So how can you stay informed about and benefit from this innovative technology? The Supertrends dynamic report on cultured meat will provide you with a comprehensive analysis that provides insight into the key players, technologies, challenges, opportunities, as well as a glimpse into the future of this exciting field. Click here to find out more.

© 2021 Supertrends

Blue Nalu head quarters Blue Nalu head quarters Blue Nalu head quarters Blue Nalu head quarters

BlueNalu nets new funding for cell-based seafood products

Lou Cooperhouse, BlueNalu’s President + CEO, standing in front of their headquarters and pilot food production facility in San Diego; Photo Courtesy of BlueNalu

With a new round of funding secured, the California-based company aims to make the first products available to US diners in the near future.

BlueNalu, a US provider of cell-based seafood cultured in bioreactors, announced last week that it had recently secured US$60 million in financing. This comes in addition to the financing round of US$20 million announced in early 2020. “This will help us finance our work until the next milestone, allowing us to get our pilot facility completed and equipped, and the documentation in place to meet the requirements of the FDA,” said President and CEO Lou Cooperhouse. “As soon as we have met both of these requirements, we will be able to launch our first product to restaurants in the US.”

Speaking at an online event, Cooperhouse touted the potential of cell-based seafood compared to traditional fishing and aquaculture. Wild fishery is lagging due to depleted stocks, and aquaculture is struggling to make up for those shortfalls, he noted, adding that provisions of fish and seafood are highly vulnerable due to their globe-spanning supply chains (the US, for instance, imports 90 percent of its seafood). Not only does the industry have a devastating impact on animal stocks, coral reefs, and other oceanic ecosystems, but the product yield in restaurants is only 50 to 60 percent due to losses or spoilage in transport and the fact that many animal parts such as fins, tails, bones, or skin are discarded.

“This highly inefficient approach leads to variations in supplies, quality, and freshness of products,” said Cooperhouse. “Our cell-based product can be 100 percent local, with an environmental footprint that will be transformative for the entire global supply chain.” The ability to make seafood in close proximity to consumers in a bioreactor also means that the products can be demand-driven and responsive to the wishes of the customers, rather than being supply-restricted and determined by what catch is available on any given day.

cell-based seafood
BlueNalu’s whole-muscle, cell-based yellowtail prepared in four different recipes (clockwise from top left): roasted butternut squash & yellowtail bisque, poke bowl, fish taco, and kimchi; Photo courtesy of BlueNalu

BlueNalu has already developed well over 100 stable cell lines for mahi mahi, bluefin tuna, red snapper, and other fish species, with more planned for the future. The company’s goal is to complete its pilot facility in San Diego and have limited amounts of product commercially available over the next year, with full-scale commercialization a realistic prospect in the not-too-distant future.

“The BlueNalu team has done a stellar job with each step of the growth process,” said Chuck Laue, a board member and investor in BlueNalu and founder and chair of Stray Dog Capital.They have assembled a highly capable and mission-driven team with experience in myriad disciplines, and they are going to change the way the world consumes seafood. They are using science, technology, engineering and innovation to protect our planet. I’m excited and honored to participate in such an important venture.”

While the nascent cell-based meat industry in the US is experiencing a great deal of pushback from the strong lobby of traditional beef, pork, and chicken producers, Cooperhouse notes that there has been less opposition from the seafood industry. “We do not expect as much competition from the US fishing industry because we are targeting species that are typically imported from overseas, illegally fished, or have a high mercury content,” he says. “We see ourselves as working with existing players, and complementing our global supply chain of seafood, rather than being in competition.” Ultimately, he anticipates that there will be three ways of sourcing fish and seafood – from wild catch, conventional aquaculture, and cellular aquaculture via cell-based processes.


At Supertrends, we are co-creating the future – and you can be a part of it

A growing number of companies are striving to bring cell-based food to consumers, including cultured meat as well as fish and seafood. When do you think the first cell-based seafood will be available in restaurants? When will the first large-scale bioreactors be operational? How long before regulators approve cell-based animal muscle for human consumption in the US? Visit the Supertrends App and make your own predictions! Not an App user yet? Visit the Supertrends Pro – page to learn about your benefits and request a trial – for free!

© 2021 Supertrends

Man and child buying meat in supermarket Man and child buying meat in supermarket Man and child buying meat in supermarket Man and child buying meat in supermarket

Singapore leads the future of food with world-first approval of cultured meat sales

Cultured meat, also known as “lab-grown meat” or “clean meat”, is built up from layers of animal muscle cells cultivated in a bioreactor. Since the debut of a proof-of-concept hamburger patty in 2013, it has increasingly come to the attention of potential consumers and investors. Although the technology of cell culture has been well developed in the medical field, the concept still faces several challenges in making a commercial product as an alternative to animal protein. One of these challenges is regulatory approval. 

This week, Singapore became the first country to overcome the regulatory hurdle facing cultured meat companies [Tech Crunch]. Singapore’s decision to take a leading role in regulating cell-based protein products should not come as a surprise. The city-state currently imports 90% of its food from over 170 countries. While Singapore cannot expect to be fully self-sufficient, they aim to supply 30% of the country’s nutrition needs through the Singapore Food Story R&D Program. The strategic policy will also put Singapore in a leading position in sustainable urban food production, bio-based protein production, and food safety science. 

“For a small island state like Singapore, the foray into lab-grown meat makes a lot of sense”, said Professor Paul Teng, Dean and Managing Director of National Institute of Education International from Singapore, in his commentary.

Professor Paul Teng, Supertrends Expert

For a small island state like Singapore, the foray into lab-grown meat makes a lot of sense.

While the US and Europe have layers of regulations on novel food (such as cultured meat), the Singapore Food Agency published detailed guidance on novel foods’ safety assessment in 2019. According to a media report, Eat Just received approval for its cell-cultured chicken after working with the Singapore Food Agency for about two years. 

With Singapore being the first to open the door, other countries in Asia, the US, and Europe are likely to quickly follow suit. Just days after Singapore’s big move, another news came from Asia that Avant Meats, a Hong Kong-based startup working on commercializing cultivated fish, received US$3.1 million in funding from investors, including China Venture Capital. 


Stay in the know with the Supertrends Cultured Meat Report

Meat substitutes based on plants and other protein sources are rapidly gaining popularity, with many stores and supermarkets now featuring a section reserved for these foods. Many estimates suggest cultured meat could reach the shelves within a decade. As such, once it becomes widely available, Cultured Meat is poised to become the new billion-dollar industry. So how can you stay informed about and benefit from this innovative technology? The Supertrends dynamic report on cultured meat will provide you with a comprehensive analysis that provides insight into the key players, technologies, challenges, opportunities, as well as a glimpse into the future of this exciting field. Click here to find out more.

© 2020 Supertrends

Is India ready for lab-grown meat? (part 2)

India has been the fastest-growing major economy in the past few years. Within the next decades, India is also expected to surpass China and become the most populous country in the world. Can cultivated meat help to meet the country’s rising demand for protein? Varun Deshpande, Managing Director at Good Food Institute India, is quite confident that it will.

When Varun Deshpande started The Good Food Institute India in December 2017, his mission was to offer producers and consumers an alternative to industrial animal agriculture. Today, with the support of Varun and many others like him, start-ups working on alternative protein are revolutionizing India’s food ecosystem, and an entrepreneurial ecosystem is also taking shape. In an e-mail interview, Deshpande expressed optimism regarding the future development of cultivated meat in India. 

Supertrends: When do you expect cultured meat to become available on the Indian market? 

Varun Deshpande: As with the timelines for the global industry, the path to market for cultivated meat in India depends on regulatory frameworks and on the price of the final product. India is a very price-sensitive market with high chicken consumption (a meat typically priced more cheaply than red meats or other specialty meats), so we expect that cultivated meat may have a longer timeline to come to market in this country than in the rest of the world. The efforts of the Centre of Excellence (a partnership between the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, and the Good Food Institute India) and other work we are doing promise to accelerate that timeline, so that we can deliver affordable, sustainable protein to a growing population as soon as possible. 

In India, culture plays an important role in food consumption. What is or will be the social response to cultured meat in India? 

Early studies indicate promisingly high theoretical acceptance from consumers. Our cross-country survey of consumer acceptance regarding plant-based and cultivated meat (Bryant et al., Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 2019) indicates 56 percent of Indian consumers would be very or extremely likely to purchase cultivated meat regularly – and since increased familiarity with these foods tends to drive up that acceptance rate, you can expect that India will have a big market for cultivated meat over time. This is very heartening when you consider the rising protein demand in the country over the next decades – we will need to provide affordable, sustainable, delicious protein at scale to satisfy over a billion meat-eating Indians. 

What do you think are the advantages and challenges for the future of cultured meat in India? 

India’s advantage has always been the availability of excellent, resourceful talent, and our disadvantage has always been the enabling ecosystem supporting that talent. The relative dearth of labs, research funding, degree programs, and patient deep-technology-oriented capital has traditionally meant India’s technologists and entrepreneurs have to be even more resourceful than other countries, or migrate to those other countries – which is very unfortunate. Cultivated meat does, however, benefit from India’s thriving pharmaceutical sector, which is expected to reach US$150 billion by 2025. We’ve already begun tapping into this sector and its proven track record in affordable, high-quality manufacturing. Indian companies are already producing growth factors for use by global companies to cultivate cells, for instance, and Indian entrepreneurs are already in conversation with established international companies in the space for partnership opportunities. GFI India’s work moving forward will center on building up the enabling ecosystem for rapid technology transfer and market development, for example by fostering participation from further biopharma companies, setting up further labs and research consortiums, and nurturing talent from universities to participate in the cultivated meat explosion. I’m deeply optimistic that we can bring unique value to the global ecosystem, particularly with our own team at GFI India, which is growing to include a Cultivated Meat Specialist (hiring now!). 

What is the impact of COVID-19 crisis for cultured meat industry in India? Will people stay away from all meat products, or will it be an opportunity for cultured meat? 

COVID-19 is accelerating the convergence towards animal-free supply chains globally, and resulting in tragic consequences for the legacy meat industry in India. The pandemic and its effects on consumer perception have meant that demand for chicken has temporarily fallen off a cliff, with farmers needing to cull their stock by burying chickens alive, thereby running tremendous losses. This mirrors recent worrying outbreaks of African swine fever and avian flu in the Indian meat supply. While cultivated meat companies like ClearMeat and research projects like the one at CCMB have needed to pause research work, the long-term prognosis for the sector remains hugely positive – it offers a means of resilience even to legacy animal meat producers who may want to future-proof their business. The drivers for consumers and businesses therefore align perfectly for cultivated meat to succeed in the country over time – but plenty of work remains to drive cost-parity and the enabling ecosystem first! 


Visit the Supertrends App and search for ‘cultured meat’ to find out when cultured chicken will be available on the Indian market. Not an App user yet? Visit the Supertrends Pro – page to learn about your benefits and request a trial – for free!

© 2020 Supertrends 

A tailor-made cocktail to nurture lab-grown meat

The lab-grown meat industry is rapidly expanding: Since the presentation of the first cultured beef burger in 2013, dozens of start-ups have been racing to be the first to sell lab-grown beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, or fish. For investors, meat cultivated from animal cells (also known as in-vitro meat or cultured meat) has become a very promising and innovative business field. At Supertrends, we are publishing a series of reports on this new, cutting-edge technology and the people who are working to make lab-grown meat a reality.  

Future Fields: Scaling the initial idea

When Matthew Anderson-Baron and Lejjy Gafour at Canadian start-up Future Fields started on their journey as entrepreneurs, they were thinking to produce and market cultured chicken meat as an end product for the domestic market in Canada. “I think it would be nice to have a Canadian company do this in Canada and provide it to a domestic market,” says Lejjy.  

However, when they developed a cheaper alternative to the costly Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) growth medium, they saw opportunities for a bigger and more global role in the lab-grown meat industry.  Future Fields is now working on providing customized services and technical support for other companies that want to produce cultured meat. Depending on the type of stem cells used and customers’ requirements, Future Fields designs a tailor-made “cocktail” from their own growth medium and other components to meet the individual needs of each customer. “There is no magic silver bullet” for all types of meat, as Lejjy points out.  

lab-grown meat labor tools

Hurdles in the lab-grown meat industry

There are still big hurdles facing the clean meat industry. As the “tech guy”, Matt is really excited when discussing the technical future of cultured meat. While newly discovered alternatives in growth media are bringing costs down, building a cell scaffold remains one of the biggest obstacles in producing high-quality cuts like steaks. “More discovery needs to be done to create a viable, economical, and better product that can provide a similar consumer experience to traditional meat,” he adds. Matt thinks it will be at least another two years before a minimum viable version of a scaffold is available.


If you’re interested in Matt and Lejjy’s thoughts about the development of the technology of cultured meat in five, ten, 20, or even 40 years, search for “Cultured Meat” in the Supertrends App to find out what they predicted. Not an App user yet? Visit the Supertrends Pro – page to learn about your benefits and request a trial – for free!

© 2020 Supertrends

Join us

    

Sign up for our Newsletter

Subscribe

Supertrends AG, Erlenstrasse 16, 6300 Zug