Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat to name a few, enjoy surging sales. Building on the success of the new tastier and closer to the real thing burgers, new food tech investors are supporting many ventures in not only plant-based foods but also “cultured meats” or “cellular agriculture”.
Technology startups from Mission Barns, to Shiok Meats, Mosa Meats, Aleph Farms and Blue Nalu are using host cells from a variety of animals and seafood for the incubation of cellular alternative proteins — without the loss of any lives.
The Wall Street Journal offers an essay in “Real Meat that Vegetarians Can Eat” the commercial potential is huge, just starting with vegetarians alone.
Safer Culture Media
Buried in the article is an interesting challenge: How do you grow these proteins…safely in what kind of medium?
Eat Just has rapidly advanced its protein technology and had its first development and rollout in Singapore. Why you might ask? Well, one part is the Singaporean authorities are less vigilant about use of bovine serum for the growth medium. The US Food and Drug Administration regulates it, especially in light of past bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). It appears Eat Just chicken initially developed with bovine / animal serum. Going forward, it will use an animal-free form of bovine serum. This clearly makes growth incubation media much safer. So, for the future, score one for Singapore and Eat Just. Healthful advances in science and technology.
Similar to the development of vaccines without an egg culture, and even more current the development of Covid vaccines without analog animal-based cultures, the cellular agriculture industry is moving forward with safety and ultimately cost reduction in mind. I count this as sound and safe progress.
Optimized Cell Lines
One ingredient for successful cultured meats is reliable and optimal sourcing of cell lines. Thus, it is essential that appropriate cellular materials are developed. Clearly for competitive advantage, private companies will want their own champion genealogy. More on that to come — along with legal landmines.