Swiss Start-Up Mirai Foods Debuts the World’s First Cultivated Tenderloin Steak
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Mirai Foods, the Switzerland-based food tech startup working on cultivated meat, says it has achieved a breakthrough with the first tenderloin steak grown from cells.
Mirai Food’s achievement comes by way of a natural cell process that allows for tissue cultivation that can mimic conventional meat. It’s dubbed the tech, which it’s filed three patents on, “Fibration Technology.”
“Other types of meat can already be produced in the lab,” Christoph Mayr, CEO and co-founder of Mirai Foods, said in a statement. “A fillet steak is the ultimate challenge: it consists of different cell types, which — if combined correctly — result in a complex meat structure,” Mayr says.
“This structuring process is technologically challenging, making steaks extremely difficult to produce. That’s why Mirai Foods is taking an important step towards sustainable meat with the first cultivated beef tenderloin steak.”
The steak was made in Mirai Foods’ in-house developed bioreactor, dubbed “The Rocket”. Mirai says the steak is made with long, fully mature cultivated muscle fibers, which are then combined by enzymes and supplemented with cultivated fat tissue. The process requires five days in a bioreactor, Mirai says, and then “a tenderloin centerpiece is complete, from which steaks of almost any thickness can be cut.”
“We have filed three international patents for this key technology,” Suman Das, CSO and co-founder of Mirai Foods, said. “We can deliver a real alternative to conventional meat: Using our technology, one can prepare and eat a real steak — and know that no animal had to die for it and the climate is not harmed. Nutrition is a huge lever for greater climate protection and animal welfare: demand for meat is expected to double by 2050; conventional methods of meat production cannot meet this demand at all, and certainly not in a sustainable way.”
Whole-cut cultivated meat
Mirai is building on the industry’s increasing efforts to produce whole cuts of meat through cultivation; the majority of products thus far have more resembled mince for use in burgers and nuggets. But in 2023 alone, U.K.-based BSF Enterprises debuted a whole-cultivated pork loin, and researchers in Japan say they’ve also developed a whole-cut steak from cultured cells.
According to Mirai, it’s also one of just a few cultivated meat companies in the world capable of making the meat without the use of genetic engineering — a controversial tech most known for its link with seeds engineered to withstand heavy applications of herbicides. GMOs are heavily restricted in the E.U., and Mirai says the absence of the tech in its meat is geared toward the preferences of European consumers “while maintaining the highest standards of taste, quality, and health.”
Mirai Foods’ tenderloin debut comes as Zürich-based food and meat producer Angst AG has joined the company along with several other investors. Angst AG is expected to bring Mirai’s cultivated meat into its range of offerings once the tech has earned regulatory approval. Mirai, which launched in 2019, has raised more than $5 million in funding in a 2021 Seed round.