23 December 2021

Prices are falling

Cultured chicken was the first to reach price parity with poultry farm meat

Stepan Ikaev, Hi-tech+

Israeli startup Future Meat Technologies has announced a breakthrough in the production of chicken meat in laboratory conditions — its cost has reached parity with the price of meat in traditional poultry farming.

According to Future Meat, this approach is more environmentally friendly than agriculture, produces 80% less greenhouse gas emissions, uses 99% less land and 96% less fresh water than traditional chicken production. And, of course, it does not require the slaughter of real animals, according to the company's press release.

Future Meat grows animal cells in bioreactors and claims that its final products are indistinguishable from animal meat. Cells do not undergo genetic modifications and can multiply indefinitely — the patented system maintains a constant physiological environment that stimulates the growth of new tissues in the same way as it happens with the body of a real chicken, cow or pig. At the exit, Future Meat receives pieces of raw meat that fully correspond to animal products in all respects — taste, texture, aroma and shape.

In February of this year, Future Meat reported that its production processes are progressing rapidly — the cost of one chicken breast fell at that moment to $7.5 per piece. Later, in June, the startup launched a mini-factory in Israel, which ensured the production of 500 kg of cultured meat per day and lowered the price tag to $3.9 per breast. And now the company claims that it has almost reached parity between classical animal husbandry and its methodology.

A full-fledged chicken steak (110 g) now costs $1.07. So far, this applies only to chicken, but in the future beef, pork and lamb will join the list, representatives of Future Meat noted.

"We regularly show that our technology and specialized medium, which does not contain additional serum, can achieve cost parity faster than the market expects. We have also demonstrated that our patented media rejuvenation technology provides a density of more than 100 billion cells per liter, which means that the production density is 10 times higher than the industrial standard," said Founder and CEO Yaakov Nahmias.

Simultaneously with the announcement of its achievement, Future Meat closed the largest funding round in the history of the industry — the startup raised $347 million in Series B. The investments were managed by ADM Ventures and Archer-Daniels-Midland funds, joined by Menora Mivtachim, S2G Ventures, Tyson Ventures and many others. The total amount of capital raised by Future Meat is now $387 million, and the estimate is $900 million.

The funds received will be used for the construction of the first manufacturing plant in the USA. Future Meat intends to enter the American market next year — for this purpose, the developer has already turned to local regulators who are responsible for the food industry. In addition, the startup will consider expanding its headquarters in Rehovot - it is there that Future Meat now produces 500 kg of cultured meat per day.

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