Switzerland-based Mirai Foods, announced this week that it has raised $2.1M CHF (~$2.4 million USD) in funding in its initial Seed round (hat tip to FoodBev Media). The round included participation from seven investors in total, including the Pauling Group and Team Europe.
This most recent round of funding will be used to accelerate the commercialization of Mirai Foods’ cultured meat products. The company was founded one year ago, and after six months produced its first cultured meat prototype. Currently, the company is focused on creating cultured beef products, like minced beef, but will eventually work on other meat analogs as well.
Like other cultured meat companies, Mirai Foods extracts stem cells from living animals to produce its cultured meat. However, no animals are slaughtered or harmed in the process, and the extracted cells are grown outside of animals in large bioreactors. Because living animals are not raised by the company, there is no need for land, feed, or water for animals, thus resulting in the cultured meat product having a lower carbon footprint. According to its press announcement, Mirai is the only cultivated meat player in Switzerland. The company says it differentiates itself from other players in the space in that it does not genetically manipulate their cells but keep the cells as they naturally occur in the animal.
Mirai Foods is not the only company racing to accelerate its commercialization efforts in hopes of bringing cultured meat to market. At the very beginning of 2021, Aleph Farms actually announced that it would be bringing its lab-grown whole-muscle steak to Japan, and will be releasing a limited launch of its products in Asia in 2022. IntegriCulture aims to launch a cultured liver product in restaurants this year, and SuperMeat has a test kitchen/restaurant in Tel-Aviv, Israel dedicated to sampling its cultured chicken to consumers in exchange for feedback.
Lab-grown meat, as science fiction-y and futuristic as it sounds, is inching closer to popping up on restaurant menus and retailer shelves. Regulatory approval from governments is still a barrier that cultured meat companies must cross, but approval could come sooner than later after the Singapore government’s approval of Eat Just’s cultured meat. Mirai Foods has not announced when it aims on launching its cultured meat in the market but did say in its press release that it is focused on bringing cell-based meat to the market as quickly and safely as possible.