The great cultivated meat scale-up has begun. Or, at the very least, the game plan for one of the industry’s most high-visibility players is finally coming into view.
That startup is Eat Just, Inc., which has announced two significant partnerships for its Good Meat group, the company’s cultivated meat division, over the past week. The first partnership, announced last week, is with food/ag conglomerate ADM, which will partner with Eat Just to optimize the growth factors and nutrients in the cell culture growth media. According to the announcement, the two will work together to create a growth medium “for quality, cost and volume.”
The second partnership, announced today, is with ABEC, a biomanufacturing engineering and services company, to build out Good Meat’s manufacturing facilities. The multi-year agreement will see ABEC “design, manufacture, install and commission the largest known bioreactors for avian and mammalian cell culture.”
According to the announcement, the deal is for the production of ten 250,000-liter bioreactors, which will form the foundation for GOOD Meat’s large-scale cultivated meat facility. The production complex, which will be located in the United States, will have the capacity to produce up to 30 million pounds of cultivated meat. The new facility will initially produce chicken and beef products and have a nationwide distribution footprint.
While 30 million pounds sounds like a lot, it represents less than one-tenth of one percent of the aggregate meat consumption in the US. Still, it’s not nothing. The planned production represents a significant leap over any other announced production capacity (Upside’s pilot plant, announced last year, will eventually have a capacity of 400 thousand pounds of meat per year).
Some may dismiss these efforts as hardly making a dent in overall meat consumption but Eat Just’s Josh Tetrick and others have made it clear that the effort to scale up this industry will take decades, not years. These efforts to produce cell-cultivated meat at this scale will undoubtedly provide lessons for an industry collectively looking to figure out the science and technology of doing something that’s never been done before.