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Three of Switzerland’s largest food companies, Givaudan, Bühler and Migros, are now joining forces to build a new cell-based meat factory. Located in Zurich, the Cultured Food Innovation Hub will house a pilot production plant, as well as R&D facilities dedicated to the creation of novel cell-based and precision fermentation protein products.
Three Swiss food corporations, the flavouring and fragrance firm Givaudan, food processing giant Bühler and Migros, the largest retailer in the country, have just formed a new venture dedicated to cultured proteins. Together, the three companies are building a new Cultured Food Innovation Hub in The Valley in Kemptthal, near Zurich, where a cell-based meat pilot plant and R&D facilities will be housed.
Cultured Food Innovation Hub
Set to become fully operational in 2022, the Cultured Food Innovation Hub will feature equipment and facilities to develop cell-based meat, fish and seafood products. It will also enable R&D into precision fermentation protein products, being equipped with bio-fermentation capacities.
While Bühler will provide scale-up and production expertise, Givaudan is set to bring its experience in taste, fragrance and flavouring of meat alternatives. Migros, on the other hand, will see its marketing and retail know-how leveraged in the partnership.
According to the three firms, the new venture will be a standalone company, and will be open to startups to develop and go-to-market with the “right product”.
Givaudan, Bühler and Migros cited the “significant increase in demand” for alternative proteins as the reason behind the move, as well as growing pressures on food producers to create “healthful foods that are ethical and sustainable”.
Global polls have indicated the mainstreaming of alternative proteins, with as many as 42% of all consumers worldwide now self-identifying as “flexitarians” who actively reduce their meat and intake for health, environmental and animal welfare reasons.
Novel alternative proteins are the future
While the alt-protein market is still dominated by plant-based products, the demand for sustainable protein is likely to translate into strong interest in cell-based and precision fermentation meat and dairy substitutes as well—prompting the Swiss corporations to leap ahead and gain a first-mover advantage.
One poll in Singapore found nearly 80% of consumers are willing to purchase cultured meat products after being shown a simple infographic of the benefits of lab-grown meat production, while another survey showed strong consumer interest in animal-free cheese that contains bioidentical dairy proteins made using precision fermentation.
“Consumers are beginning to understand the idea of cellular agriculture and the benefits it can provide; the market is poised for exceptional growth. When you put it all together, it is a winning combination for the planet,” commented Migros managing director Matthew Robin.
It’s not the first time Givaudan and Bühler have worked together on alternative proteins, with the two companies opening up a joint plant protein R&D centre in Singapore earlier this year. Givaudan has further built up its alternative protein portfolio lately with a new Protein Hub inside its flagship Zurich centre, which will be dedicated to exploring vegan meat as well as fermentation-enabled substitutes.
Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.