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The Future of Meat: When cultured meat is Food Tech and hope for mankind

DIGITAL VENTURES July 02, 2018 3:53 AM


Digital Transformation is altering solutions in every business including the food industry. Today, many offer new solutions that, when combined with Food Tech, produce food safety, diversity, accessibility, and lowers costs. An example is moving cultivated land to the city to distribute fresher food. This is done by new plantation techniques that don’t require soil or sunlight. Therefore, farmers can plant vegetation and fruits in big cities for urbanite customers to serve the e-commerce business.    

Also, Blockchain has been quite influential in the past year. It is also used in Food Tech to increase confidence and provide food safety management. Blockchain helps to store food data from production to shelve into the system. Examples of the information provided are the watering time, feed for livestock, fertilizer or pesticides used, farm location, harvest method, factory management, and where it is distributed for sales. Therefore, if a problem occurs, it is easier to track the source and decide on the preventive measures before it reaches the consumers.

An innovation that is becoming popular in Food Tech is the Future of Meat. It may sound farfetched or seem like a sci-fi movie but on the other side of the world, Future of Meat is no longer an imagination. There are companies who are researching and experimenting on cell transplants to produce healthy meat for consumption without having to slaughter livestock for food.

Why are human relying on technology for cultured meat from labs?

Surely, the reason is not to produce an abundant supply for meat lovers. This is an attempt to solve world famine. This is especially true for food with proteins which is crucial to the body and growth but are costly. As a result, a startup from the Netherlands named Mosa Meat is looking to create cheaper, synthetic proteins in a form of a burger. They are made from stem cells and only cost 11 USD. This is cheaper than synthetic burger meat in the market that are around a hundred thousand USD. This is an attempt to widely distribute protein-type food to populations of the world.

The synthetic meat that companies are researching and experimenting are called Clean Meat. They are meat that is made from cell transplants instead of meat from animals. The idea is that synthetic meat is more environment-friendly as they are produced by using less energy, food, water, and resources when compared to raising animals for food.

Some may feel that synthetic meat is scary and unnatural. In fact, if they are produced according to the concept, aside from helping the increasing world population, this process is more ethical and environmentally sustainable.

Imitating meat is not easy and has its limitations.

An example of Clean Meat production is by a startup in San Francisco. They are recognized for lab-grown meat. Just is a company with a mission to promote synthetic meat to the mainstream market. The meat is grown by taking an animal tissue into the lab where it is grown in an environment that the cell thinks that it is still living inside an animal. Then, the cell will grow to resemble the meat.

However, commercializing such idea has its limitations. Despite the benefits, the challenge is to convince the consumers to accept it as food. Important factors are taste, texture, and the feeling for it to truly replace actual meat. Also, producing enough synthetic meat to meet the market demand or to grow cells that have a complex structure to the extent that it can replace different types of meat such as steaks, is not a simple task. Although this product is welcomed by vegans or animal rights organizations, today, Clean Meat production still requires cells or substances from animals. 

The limitations are causing companies to begin producing Clean Meat that is easiest to imitate which is the burger meat. Also, there are ideas to produce Foie Gras. If successful, aside from reducing the price, this will reduce the cruel preparation method of the past.

Food Tech startups for synthetic seafood.

Not only for beef and chicken, but synthetic seafood is also created under similar concepts, which is maintaining the taste and nutrients with less cost. The difference is that it is better for the environment and will provide sustainability for the ocean by lessening fishery. Also, it will prevent contamination that is often found in seafood. The company is called Finless Foods, it was founded by a biochemist from California. The product combines biotechnology with Food Tech. Recently, this startup received funding at 3.5 million USD. It is hoped to finalize the initial R&D to prepare for the actual production phase and can soon deliver synthetic fish to the market.

The Food Tech industry still welcomes innovation that will uplift the world population. It is important to start at the core problem that affects the majority of the people and be determined to develop and commercialize the innovation. Follow Digital Ventures for more updates.