A tailor-made cocktail to nurture lab-grown meat
The lab-grown meat industry is rapidly expanding: Since the presentation of the first cultured beef burger in 2013, dozens of start-ups have been racing to be the first to sell lab-grown beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, or fish. For investors, meat cultivated from animal cells (also known as in-vitro meat or cultured meat) has become a very promising and innovative business field. At Supertrends, we are publishing a series of reports on this new, cutting-edge technology and the people who are working to make lab-grown meat a reality.
Future Fields: Scaling the initial idea
When Matthew Anderson-Baron and Lejjy Gafour at Canadian start-up Future Fields started on their journey as entrepreneurs, they were thinking to produce and market cultured chicken meat as an end product for the domestic market in Canada. “I think it would be nice to have a Canadian company do this in Canada and provide it to a domestic market,” says Lejjy.
However, when they developed a cheaper alternative to the costly Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) growth medium, they saw opportunities for a bigger and more global role in the lab-grown meat industry. Future Fields is now working on providing customized services and technical support for other companies that want to produce cultured meat. Depending on the type of stem cells used and customers’ requirements, Future Fields designs a tailor-made “cocktail” from their own growth medium and other components to meet the individual needs of each customer. “There is no magic silver bullet” for all types of meat, as Lejjy points out.
Hurdles in the lab-grown meat industry
There are still big hurdles facing the clean meat industry. As the “tech guy”, Matt is really excited when discussing the technical future of cultured meat. While newly discovered alternatives in growth media are bringing costs down, building a cell scaffold remains one of the biggest obstacles in producing high-quality cuts like steaks. “More discovery needs to be done to create a viable, economical, and better product that can provide a similar consumer experience to traditional meat,” he adds. Matt thinks it will be at least another two years before a minimum viable version of a scaffold is available.
And where do Matt and Lejjy think the technology of cultured meat will take us in five, ten, 20, or even 40 years?Visit Supertrends App to find out what Matt and Lejjy predicted.