Israeli startup Aleph Farms and Brazilian meat and food company BRF S.A. announced today that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to bring cultured meat to Brazil.
Under the agreement, Aleph and BRF will co-develop and produced cell-cultivated meat using Aleph’s BioFram technology platform. BRF will also distribute Aleph’s meat in Brazil.
This is the latest move in what has been a busy year already for Aleph. In January, the company announced that it was bringing its cultured meat to Japan via a similar Memo of Understanding with Mitsubishi. On the product side, last month, Aleph announced that it had made the first cultivated and 3D bioprinted ribeye steak.
The entire cultivated meat space has actually had an incredible start to 2021. In addition to Aleph, CellMEAT, Mirai Foods, Mosa Meat, and Future Meat, are just some of the companies that have raised funding for their approach to cell-based meat.
Despite all this activity, price remains a big hurdle for widespread adoption of cell-based meat. Creating and scaling cell-based meat is still an expensive proposition, though the price is coming down. In a Spoon podcast interview this week, Jim Mellon, author of the book Moo’s Law: An Investor’s Guide to the New Agrarian Revolution, said:
“At scale, and we’ve got a pretty good scientific advisory board, we think that it will be 2.5 milliliters [of stem cell material] from a cow will produce the equivalent of seven or eight cows worth of meat in 40 days. So if you can do this in 40 days, we think the input costs will be 2.5 to one. And that compares to as you all know, a cow twenty five to one, a chicken nine to one.”
How quickly cell-based meat reaches price parity with animal meat remains to be seen. Even if price parity is achieved, however, there are still regulatory issues around cultured meat that must be ironed out. But deals like the one between Aleph and BRF will help the cultured meat industry scale up and reach the mainstream.