With more and more Americans choosing to become vegan, the marketplace for meat alternatives is growing. An exciting twist on this demand is lab-grown meat. What are clean meat startups doing to help develop technology and to improve meat grown in lab conditions?
What is Clean Meat?
It is important to recognize that lab-grown meat is cruelty-free and 'clean.' This means that it does not impact the environment as heavily, nor does it use extensive resources. Clean meat is different from plant-based protein grown in labs.
Clean meat is otherwise known as cultured meat. To create meat in this way, cells from the muscles of an animal are taken (without killing it) to regrow tissue. Cells thrive as strands, with more than 20,000 of them making a generic piece of meat.
Furthermore, cultured meat is different from plant meat because it tastes or smells like the real thing. By regrowing tissue with cells, lab scientists effectively replicate the texture and flavor with specialist technology.
Which US Startups are Leading the Way?
Several American startups are attacking different niches in the clean meat sphere. For example, we need to consider the recent successes of BlueNalu.
BlueNalu, with around $20 million in funding at Series A, focuses on fish. Specifically, their engineers carefully remove and isolate fish or sea creature cells and proliferate them. Their primary focus is on simple tuna and snapper. However, with further funding, they aim to broaden their research.
Wild Earth is a company working in the same sphere but for a very different audience. Operating out of Silicon Valley, Wild Earth develops a fungi-based solution to create healthy pet food and treats. They largely work with the Koji fungus, which they can extract and scale up with ease.
Wild Earth, at present, is worth at least $11.4 million in investments alone.
Memphis Meats, meanwhile, is another SV firm that is tackling culture meat with some diversity. Specifically, they work to recreate popular meat dishes such as meatballs and fried chicken! They are working to have products in US stores soon.
What's also interesting about Memphis Meats is not just its $20 million funding thus far. Virgin impresario Richard Branson and Microsoft chief Bill Gates have both invested in the brand.
Is This the Future of Meat?
It is not just a case of animal treatment affecting meat's image in the public sphere. Statistics show that livestock rearing is causing considerable problems with regard to climate change. It is thought that animal agriculture is the fourth-largest cause of greenhouse gas on the planet. This contributes around 11%.
Therefore, it stands to reason more and more businesses are working to reduce such impacts. With lab meat and plant meat both growing in popularity, this is clearly a tangent to follow.
Investors keen to know more may find sustainable meat startups through databases such as Fundz. With big investors getting behind this sphere, now may be the time to take advantage.