ImpactAlpha, June 30 — Last week’s approval by the US Department of Agriculture for chicken products Upside Foods and Good Meat sounded the starting gun for lab-grown meat – real animal protein, only without the animals (Singapore had approved Good Meat’s cultured chicken product back in 2020).
“The challenge remains to demonstrate that these products can be produced at scale for a commercially viable price,” said Matthew Walker of S2G Ventures, which this week backed a $40 million Series A financing round for LA-based Omeat. Omeat collects beef cells and plasma from cows and cultivates them into muscle tissue to create real beef within a week.
“We’ve been working diligently toward commercialization,” Omeat’s Ali Khademhosseini said in an email. “The recent regulatory approval was a huge milestone, further validating the overall concept of cell-based proteins, and strengthening the industry’s momentum.”
In Germany, Bluu raised €16 million ($17.5 million) to get its lab-grown fish approved for consumers in Singapore. Women-led venture capital investor Joyful Ventures raised $23 million to invest in technologies that it believes will direct “the $1.5 trillion global animal protein industry towards sustainable, regenerative food solutions.”
Many investors have fallen out of love with plant-based food producers. But this week, Supply Change secured commitments from funds managed by Illumen Capital and MassMutual for a fund focused on alternative proteins fermentation-based solutions that don’t require animal cells at all.
“We are still a ways off with lab-grown meat,” Supply Change’s Shayna Harris told ImpactAlpha. “The environmental footprint of lab-grown meat is an outstanding question.”
One of Supply Change’s portfolio companies, Aqua Cultured Foods, makes fungi-based seafood using microbial fermentation. “In our view, fermentation-based solutions like Aqua Cultured Foods offer superior nutrition and a clearer line of sight to cost-parity,” compared to lab-grown solutions, Harris says.
Supply Change, with The Engine, Refactor Capital and others, participated in the $9 million seed round for Berkeley, Calif.-based Hyfé to upcycle wastewater from food processing into ingredients for alternative-proteins.