PoultryUSA - June 2018 - 34
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Why invest in cultured meat?
Kim and Welch said the groups are
donor supported. Kim said investors come
from a variety of backgrounds and have
differing motivations. A large contingent
are vegan or animal welfare advocates
who want to advance the technology as
an alternative to conventional animal agriculture. Another significant portion are
techno-optimists and futurists who see
it as a way for humanity to develop more
food with less resources. Others are venture capitalists who see it as a potentially
Welch said his group is optimistic about the future
of cultured meat and sees the technology making
great strides within the next 10 to 15 years. However,
the missing ingredient is more funding and more scientists with expertise in the field.
He said investors are interested in the product
because the global population is rapidly growing,
and they think the food system isn't sustainable
and cannot feed a global population of 10 billion.
Furthermore, they believe the product will be healthier because it eliminates the risk of foodborne illness
and the need for antibiotic use in animal agriculture.
The companies making cultured meat
Welch said there's about 15 companies actively
working on cultured meat products. Some are well
established, while others are what he called stealth
startups. In the U.S., there's Memphis Meats and
San Francisco-based Just Inc., formerly known as
Hampton Creek. It recently announced its intention
to market a cultured meat product by the end of 2018.
Outside the U.S., he mentioned MosaMeat, based in
Maastricht, The Netherlands; SuperMeat, based in Tel
Aviv, Israel; and Integriculture, based in Tokyo.
Perhaps the most recognized of these companies
is Memphis Meats, founded in 2015 and based in
Berkley, California. According to Steve Myrick, the
Memphis Meats co-founders Dr. Uma Valenti
(center) and Dr. Nick Genovese (right), founded
the startup with a view that alternative, cultured
proteins can help feed the world. Memphis Meats
company's vice president of operations, it was founded by Dr. Uma Valenti and Dr. Nick Genovese, who
share the CEO role, with a view that meat production
practices are not going to feed the world. Instead, an
alternative, cultured product will be necessary.
The company produced several product demos - a
beef meatball as well as chicken and duck products
- and attracted wide investor interest. As of August
2017, it had raised $22 million.
Myrick did not share a target date for marketing a
product. The company is focused on reducing the cost
of production and increasing its production scale with
the money raised from its investors. He said there's
already an intense demand for the product.
"Our target consumer is the mainstream meat
eater," Myrick said. "We think many consumers who
don't eat conventionally produced meat today will
consider Memphis Meats, but we are firmly focused
on people who already love meat."
Meat industry players investing
in cultured meat
Myrick mentioned investments from venture
capital groups Draper Fisher Jurvetson, based in
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