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ClearMeat, India’s first cell-based protein startup, has announced that it has filed to patent its proprietary technology used to develop its cultivated minced chicken. The news comes shortly after the food tech completed a pilot trial of its products last year, with the company now setting its sights on scaling up ahead of a “lab-to-industry transition”.
After announcing that it is piloting its cultivated minced chicken, which it claims to have achieved price parity with its animal-based counterpart, Indian food tech ClearMeat has now filed for a patent for its cell-based technology in India. Speaking with The Vegan Indians in a recent interview, Dr. Siddharth Manvati, who co-founded ClearMeat with Dr. Pawan Dhar in 2018, said that they are “the first in the country” to file for a patent of this kind.
“The first product that we have created is minced chicken. We have done numerous pilot studies and minced chicken is the first to have passed those tests,” Manvati continued. “It is currently in the stage of lab-to-industry transition. Besides minced chicken, we are also testing other cell types.”
The first product that we have created is minced chicken. We have done numerous pilot studies and minced chicken is the first to have passed those tests.Dr. Siddharth Manvati, Co-Founder, ClearMeat
The startup has targeted cell-based chicken mince first because it stands as one of the most highly consumed protein sources in India, with projected demand growth set to play a large role in fuelling the country’s rising food challenges. Experts have already warned that such a rise will translate to a drastic increase in greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and worsen water stress – a phenomenon that India is already exceptionally vulnerable to in recent years due to climate change.
Aside from filing for a patent, ClearMeat also told The Vegan Indians that it is now participating in roundtable conferences with government officials and authorities at the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), with the view to expedite the commercial approval of cultivated protein. With the news of Eat Just’s cultured chicken already given the go-ahead to land on the Singaporean market, the industry at large is hopeful for more developments – and so is ClearMeat.
While admitting there were several hurdles, Manvati noted that authorities are “trying their best to fast track everything and I am very optimistic that something will roll out in the next couple of months.”
The ClearMeat team is also betting on rising consumer acceptance of cultivated protein products. Recent studies have already suggested that Indian consumers are willing to purchase both plant-based meats and cell-based meats for a premium over that of conventional meat, mainly due to health and sustainability reasons, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has likely heightened interest even more, driven by concerns about health and safety.
[Indian authorities] are trying their best to fast track everything and I am very optimistic that something will roll out in the next couple of months.Dr. Siddharth Manvati, Co-Founder, ClearMeat
While ClearMeat is the first in India to pioneer cell-based chicken, it is not alone when it comes to the global stage. Other startups – aside from Eat Just’s and its headline-making cultured chicken bites – who have managed to develop cell-based chicken include Israel’s SuperMeat, who have recently opened their brand new restaurant test kitchen to offer customers a first-of-its-kind experience to taste crispy cultured chicken fillet burgers.
California-based Memphis Meats, the food tech standing as the most well-funded cultivated meat startup to date, has also developed cultured chicken among its other products including cultivated beef meatballs and duck meat.
Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.