The Israeli startup, Future Meat, which grows meat in a laboratory through a process that does not cause harm or suffering to animals, announced the opening of a huge factory in the United States and a dramatic reduction in the price of their product to the consumer.
Another step has been made to make Israel a key player in cultured meat. Future Meat has announced the completion of one of the largest series B rounds ever seen in Israel and what appears to be the largest investment round to date in the Israeli food-tech industry at $ 347 million. The round was led by ADM Ventures and Menora Mivtachim Investment Fund. Tyson New Ventures, Rich Products Ventures, Manta Ray Ventures, Emerald Technology Ventures, ADM Capital, Bits x Bites and Sander Group also participated in the round.
They succeeded to break their own optimistic prediction
Future Meat does not produce meat substitutes like well-known brands on the market, such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. Instead, it makes laboratory meat that is physically based on meat. To create their product, they take animal stem cells in a process that, according to the company, does not cause suffering to the animal, which is then raised in a bioreactor. Those stem cells become muscle and fat cells and are infinite during the growth process. So essentially, after the initial sampling of the cells, they can be replicated again and again without using other animals. According to the company, this process leads to preserving the original texture and taste of the meat.
In the past, Future Meat explained to us that their cells grow in a freight-free suspension, which allows them to reach a large cell density and, therefore, a ten times more efficient production process than is customary in the field. Additionally, the company reuses nutrients of the cells during the process, which also leads to a reduction in production costs. Compared to existing meat production processes, Future Meat’s method can lead to a 99% reduction in the required growing areas and an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The factor stopping cultured meat from taking over the world, apart from its production capacity, is, of course, its price. It is difficult to convince consumers to change years-long, if not life-long, habits when the alternative, as good as it may be, is expensive. But in parallel with the fundraising, Future Meat reports that it has managed to lower the price of 1 pound (about 453 grams) of cultured chicken breast from $ 18 to $ 7.70. In doing so, it managed to circumvent the forecast it announced last May, claiming that it would reach that price at the end of 18 months. For comparison, the cost of chicken breast in the United States in 2020 was about $ 3.30 a pound.
Future Meat plans to use the funds raised to accelerate plans to open a mass-production meat plant in the United States in 2022. According to the company, this will be the largest plant of its kind, in addition to the company’s existing plant in Israel, which opened this year.