Science of slaughter-free: Industry reacts to Nestlé’s deep dive into cultured meat

The world’s biggest food and drink company, Nestlé, is making its way into the cultured meat arena – sparking reaction from key players in this burgeoning industry.

The Swiss giant is now evaluating strategies to produce cultured meat and its derived ingredients with a host of external partners and start-ups, demonstrating just how vast the space promises to be and shows how “slaughter-free” food research is picking up pace.

Cellular agriculture is still in its grassroots and new interest from a multinational like Nestlé signals bigger strides for the fledgling industry. FoodIngredientsFirst spoke to two CEOs from leading companies in the cell-based seafood space, Blue Nalu and Finless Foods.

“It is very exciting to hear of Nestle’s interest in this category, as they are the world’s largest food and beverage company,” says Lou Cooperhouse, president and CEO of BlueNalu. “Cell-cultured seafood, meat and poultry products can result in products that support human health, animal welfare and global food security and sustainability.”

“We have already seen considerable interest from a number of food companies, as well as diversified multinational conglomerates, in the cell-cultured protein industry over the past few years and I believe this interest will significantly escalate in years ahead.”

Michael Selden, CEO of Finless Foods adds: “It’s a good sign, I’m extremely pleased that Nestlé is interested – this technology is inevitable and big players should get on board if they are interested in participating in and helping build a food supply that is more resilient, more profitable, and better for the planet.”

Coming closer to price parity

Reinhard Behringer, head of the Nestlé Institute of Material Sciences at Nestlé Research comments: “For many years we have been investing in our protein expertise and the development of proprietary technologies for plant-based meat alternatives, allowing us to continuously expand our wide range of tasty and nutritious products with a lower environmental impact.

“To complement these efforts, we’re also exploring technologies that could lead to animal-friendly alternatives that are nutritious, sustainable, and close to meat in terms of taste, flavour, and texture. We are excited to understand their potential.”

Scientists at Nestlé Research in Lausanne are working with Future Meat Technologies, a cultured-meat start-up, to explore the potential of cultured-meat components that do not compromise on taste or sustainability.

Future Meat Technologies’ novel and cost-efficient proprietary technology can produce non-GMO cultured-meat components from animal cells, therefore reducing the need for land and resources to raise animals.

Cultivated meat may hit competitive cost and environmental benchmarks by 2030.Future Meat Technologies is the first company in the industry to break a price record, producing cultured chicken breasts for only $3.90.

“As our technology progresses with scale, prices will continue to drop making cultured meat affordable worldwide,” states the company. “We have the power to rapidly scale non-GMO, sustainable, clean, cultured meat production by the year 2023.”

“Our cost-effective solutions drive us closer to price parity with traditional farmed meat, allowing us to secure a better future for coming generations.”

Recent analysis by Dutch research organisation CE Delft has found that cultivated meat may hit competitive cost and environmental benchmarks by 2030. It further suggests that hybrid products combining plant-based meats with cultivated meat may offer a “compelling near-term opportunity” to further reduce costs and hit environmental targets, while more thoroughly biomimicking the meat-eating experience…. Read the full article here