ImpactAlpha, February 2 – The one unproven category in the alternative protein craze is “cellular meat” – lab-grown meat from animal cells – which has yet to reach the consumer market.
Israel-based Future Meat says it has gotten the production cost of its lab-grown chicken breast down to $7.50 apiece, making it one of the first of several dozen cellular meat companies to get close to a commercially-viable price point.
Food giant ADM and others joined early investors Tyson Foods, Bits x Bites, and S2G Ventures in Future Meat’s $26.8 million equity round. The capital will help Future Meat reach the consumer market.
Cellular meat has been “perpetually 10 years out for the past decade,” because of unit production costs and lack of regulatory clarity, says Matthew Walker of S2G Ventures.
Future Meat’s chicken and beef products cost $150-$200 per pound at its last funding in October 2019. “This is still a premium product, but they’re taking the technology to the point where it’s affordable and viable,” Walker told ImpactAlpha.
Singapore is the first country to approve the sale of lab-grown meat. Walker anticipates cellular meat companies hitting the consumer market in the next 12 to 18 months, initially via food service businesses.
A kilo of farmed beef requires six kilos of animal feed and more than 15,000 liters of water. A kilo of farmed chicken requires two kilos of feed and more than 4,000 liters of water.
Walker says that cellular meat requires virtually no land or water to produce. “This is a climate story.”