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A number of companies are further along in the development process for cultivated meat than ever before. These innovators are leading the charge to gain U.S. regulatory approvals.
Singapore is currently the only country to have granted regulatory approval for the commercial sale of cultivated meat products, with U.S.-based Eat Just receiving the go-ahead for two of its products. But optimism is high that the U.S. will follow Singapore’s lead soon, even our founder & editor-in-chief Sonalie Figueiras thinks so. According to Crunchbase, more than $2 billion in investment has poured into the cultivated meat sector over the past two years. The amount is expected to increase exponentially in 2022. So who’s leading the way? Below we roundup five cultivated meat companies that promise to are looking to conquer the U.S. market.
1. Aleph Farms
Based in Israel, Aleph Farms has enjoyed ongoing success. Debuting the world’s first cultivated ribeye steak early last year, it has gone on to secure additional funding with Leonardo DiCaprio included in the list of backers. While continuing to hone its cultivated products, the company has sought to develop critical strategic partnerships that, when regulatory approval is granted, will assist in scale-up and fast commercial launches.
In a bid to drive down the cost of cultivated meat production, Aleph Farms recently announced a new partnership with Munich-based Wacker. The two will be developing FBS-free growth mediums that will be shared with the entire industry, to create price parity with conventional meat. Open-source tech sharing of this kind is designed to progress the entire sector, not one company.
2. Upside Foods
U.S.-based Upside Foods may have been the most disappointed company when regulatory approval was not granted by year-end 2021. Having predicted the breakthrough, it was ready to scale and serve its chicken nuggets and chicken hotdogs. In December last year, Upside revealed that it had successfully created an animal-component-free cell feed. The development represented a goal of the business since its 2015 inception.
Despite no confirmed green light for commercial sale, Upside opened its new ‘EPIC’ production facility. The location is capable of manufacturing 400,000 pounds of cultivated meat every year. Most recently, Upside has acquired cultivated seafood company Cultured Decadence. The move comes as seafood alternatives are showing significant market growth and are predicted to continue on an upward trajectory in 2022.
In a bid to manifest regulation progress, Wildtype has already signed U.S. distribution deals for its cultivated salmon. The San Francisco startup has agreements in place with sushi bar franchiser Snowfox and poké chain Pokéworks. The move follows completion of a pilot plant which brings production facilities, an education centre and tasting rooms all under one roof. The idea is to make the technology accessible and understandable, to encourage consumer trust and openness. When fully operational, the location will be able to produce 200,000 pounds of salmon a year.
Wildtype’s salmon will be sushi-grade and whole cut. Green Queen tried the prototype last September and it was hard to differentiate from the real thing.
4. MeaTech 3D
Israeli foodtech MeaTech 3D is focussed on two aspects of cultivated meat. The first is chicken fat that can be leveraged in a B2B scale, to add flavour to other cultivated developments. In addition, honing of industrial processes and technology to manufacture recognisable meat cuts. Steak and chicken breasts have both been slated for future unveiling.
In early 2021. MeaTech secured $7 million in a funding round. $1.19 million was used to acquire Belgian startup Piece of Meat, to benefit from its stem cell technology. The rest was earmarked for the construction and fit-out of a pilot plant, also in Belgium, in 2022.
Back in 2020, MeaTech became the first cultivated meat company to go public in the U.S. It claimed a $25 million valuation for its IPO.
5. GOOD MEAT / Eat Just
Making history as the first and only company to be allowed to sell cultivated meat products anywhere, Eat Just is the company to chase. December 2020 saw Eat Just bag regulatory approval for its GOOD meat chicken nuggets, in Singapore. Almost exactly one year later, GOOD Meat chicken breasts were also approved. In 2021 alone, Eat Just scooped $370 million in investments. It beat Upside Foods’ previous record.
Gearing up for U.S. distribution, Eat Just has appointed Chef José Andrés as a GOOD Meat board member. The chef has agreed to service cultivated chicken in at least one of his U.S. restaurants, as soon as regulatory approval is granted. The move guarantees high profile rollout, thanks to the Michelin-starred businessman.
Lead photo by Eat Just/GOOD Meat.