Jul 14, 2021 — As the world’s largest agribusiness company, NestlÃ©’s foray into cultured meat has prompted reaction from some of the other key players in this burgeoning industry. This shows how vast the space promises to be, and shows just how much research into âno slaughterâ foods is accelerating.
The Swiss giant is evaluating strategies for producing cultured meat and its derived ingredients with a multitude of external partners and start-ups.
Cellular farming is still at its core and the new interest of a multinational like NestlÃ© signals greater progress for the nascent industry. The CEOs of Blue Nalu and Finless Foods, two leading players in cell-based seafood, spoke to FoodIngredientsFirst about these latest developments.
âIt’s very exciting to hear NestlÃ©’s interest in this category as it is the largest food and beverage company in the world,â said Lou Cooperhouse, President and CEO of BlueNalu. âCell culture-derived seafood, meat and poultry products can result in products that support human health, animal welfare, and global food security and sustainability. “
âWe have already seen tremendous interest from a number of food companies, as well as diverse multinational conglomerates, in the cell culture protein industry over the past few years and I believe that interest is growing considerably. increase in the years to come. â
Michael Selden, CEO of Finless Foods adds: âThis is a good sign, I am extremely happy that NestlÃ© is interested – this technology is inevitable and the big players should join if they want to participate and help build a supply. food that is more resilient, more profitable and better for the planet.
Getting closer to price parity
Reinhard Behringer, Director of the NestlÃ© Institute of Material Sciences at NestlÃ© Research, comments: âFor many years, we have been investing in our protein expertise and in the development of proprietary technologies for plant-based alternatives to meat, this which allows us to continuously expand our wide range of tasty and nutritious products with a lower environmental impact.
âTo complement these efforts, we are also exploring technologies that could lead to animal-friendly alternatives that are nutritious, sustainable and similar to meat in terms of taste, flavor and texture. We are delighted to understand their potential.
Scientists at NestlÃ© Research in Lausanne are working with Future Meat Technologies, a cultured meat start-up, to explore the potential of cultured meat components that don’t compromise taste or durability.
Future Meat Technologies’ innovative and cost-effective proprietary technology can produce non-GMO cultured meat components from animal cells, reducing the need for land and resources to raise animals.
Future Meat Technologies is the first company in the industry to break a price record, producing cultured chicken breasts for just US $ 3.90.
âAs our technology advances on a large scale, prices will continue to fall, making cultured meat affordable around the world,â the company says. “We have the power to rapidly scale the production of non-GMO, sustainable, clean and cultivated meat by 2023.”
“Our cost-effective solutions bring us closer to price parity with traditional farmed meat, enabling us to secure a better future for generations to come.”
A recent analysis by the Dutch research organization CE Delft found that cultured meat could achieve competitive costs and environmental criteria by 2030. It further suggests that hybrid products combining plant-based meats with Cultured meat could offer a “compelling short-term opportunity” to further reduce costs and achieve environmental goals, while more fully mimicking the experience of eating meat.
Cell phone at the supermarket
Cooperhouse in Blue Nalu predicts that the cell culture market will evolve rapidly over the next five to ten years.
âManagement consulting firm AT Kearny predicts that cell culture meats will account for 35% of the market share, and plant-based meats will account for 25% of the market share by 2040. This indicates that what we call today conventional proteins will become unconventional by 2040., “he shares.
âMy personal prediction is that 2030 will be the decade in which many large-scale cell culture factories are built around the world, resulting in compound annual growth across this category,â he continues.
âBefore that, you’ll see small-scale factories going up, and maybe several hundred million pounds in total volume among all cell culture companies over the remainder of this decade, which will only be a fraction. limited market. “
But from 2030, Cooperhouse expects “extremely rapid growth” and the ability to close the gap in the global supply chain, as demand increases and conventional supply remains relatively stable. âWe hope that seafood from cell culture can really bridge the gap that awaits us. “
Selden of Finless Foods adds, âI see cell culture meat sitting next to animal meat and not needing its own aisle, the same way farmed seafood does. do not have their own driveway. Consumers will see this as just another option and make the day-to-day decisions themselves rather than ideologically conforming to one or the other.
Surf and turf
Cell-based beef steak research is where the movement of cultured meat first took root. Among the notable developments covered on FoodIngredientsFirst, Aleph Farms – the company behind the world’s first cultured beef steak, rib eye cuts and first grown meat grown in space in 2019 – recently secured 105 million Series B funding. of US dollars.
But Cooperhouse at Blue Nalu believes that one of the âbiggest market opportunitiesâ for cell culture protein products is in the seafood category. The segment has already attracted gigantic investments over the past year, such as the funding of US $ 12.6 million of cell-based shrimp by Shiok Meats in Singapore.
âToday’s seafood market prices are based on supply, making them variable and unpredictable, as well as considerably expensive in areas such as quality, distribution and logistics,â notes Cooperhouse. âCurrently, food service operators pay for the parts of the fish that are not typically eaten, such as the head, tail, skin and bones. “
âWith BlueNalu cell culture seafood, we anticipate that our products will be 100% efficient, likely to come from much shorter distances with a very favorable environmental and logistical footprint, and be able to fetch a price equivalent to that of seafood. high quality sea on the market today.
Selden comments: âThere is still work to be done to reduce costs, but most of the work that remains involves detailed and healthy conversation with regulators to ensure that we are meeting the safety standards necessary to get to market. “
âConsumer adoption can be encouraged through a neutral labeling system that clearly shows how we are different without scaring people into making it look too new. And also by starting to educate consumers now – to demystify the technology and build excitement around the potential and benefits of cell culture meat.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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