The innovation and AI-driven Jimi Biotech has presented the first fully developed cultivated meat in China.
China-based Jimi Biotech has achieved a major milestone in cultivated meat by developing what it says is the country’s first 100 percent cell-based meat. The product is created entirely from animal cells without any plant scaffolding.
Zhehou Cao, CEO of Jimi Biotech, says that cultivated meat containing plant scaffolding cannot replicate the taste and product perception of real meat products, making 100 percent cell-based meat a more viable option for consumers looking for a sustainable option without sacrificing taste or texture.
The company is working to develop what it calls “new forms” of meat while reducing public health risks and addressing food safety, environmental pollution, and animal welfare problems related to conventional meat production.
Roosters in Hangzhou provided the cells for the meat. Cao said a sensory evaluation of the product found that the difference in color, smell, and taste comparing conventional chicken with Jimi’s cultivated chicken was minimal, making it a successful first attempt and a viable contender for scaling up, once China greenlights cultivated meat.
The company says it has managed to reduce the cost of the culture medium to around ¥ 100 ($14), which is only 3 percent of the price of the culture medium on the market.
Funding the future of sustainable meat
Prior to the launch, Jimi Biotech completed its second investment round in the last four months. The latest round totaled ¥10 ($1.45 million) and was led by Shiwei Capital, with the funds earmarked will for research and development as well as the construction of a small pilot plant.
The startup previously raised ¥20 million RMB (approx. $3 million) in a round led by Plum Ventures and Fanqie Capital.
Weichang Jiang, a partner at Shiwei Capital, praised Jimi Biotech’s rapid progress in core areas such as cell lines and culture media. Jiang also noted that the company’s automation and AI will make the company an efficiency leader in the sector.
“Although only three months have passed since the last round of funding, Jimi Biotech has still made significant technological breakthroughs,” Jiang said in a statement. “In addition to the rapid progress in core areas such as cell lines and culture media, we believe that Jimi Biotech’s deep integration of automation and AI into the research and development also reflects the founder’s emphasis on continuously improving research and development efficiency.”
The debut comes as the Chinese government has explicitly listed cultivated meat as a key area for future food manufacturing in the “14th Five-Year Plan” for National Agricultural Science and Technology Development. The National Food Safety Risk Assessment Center (CFSA) will also establish a special group for cultivated meat this year to study the regulatory framework of cultivated meat in China.
“China has the largest market for meat and a well-established supply chain system, so we believe that some of the world’s leading cultivated meat enterprises will be Chinese enterprises,” Jiang said. “With the attention of the regulatory agency, the industry is about to enter an important turning point in China.”