Israel-based Aleph Farms announced today that its cultured meat is headed for the Japanese market, thanks to a new Memorandum of Understanding with Mitsubishi.
Through the new deal, Aleph Farms will provide its BioFarm platform to cultivate whole-muscle steaks, while Mitsubishi provides its expertise in biotechnology processes, branded food manufacturing and distribution throughout Japan.
In addition opening up a new market for Aleph Farms, today’s announcement is a nice bit of validation for the company’s BioFarm technology. Announced last November, Aleph says its BioFarm facility will allow it to scale the production of cull cultured cow meat affordably, bringing the price down to parity with factory farmed meat.
But Aleph will face some cell-cultured competition in Japan. Japanese company, Integriculture has its own lab meat technology and was awarded a grant by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry last year to build out a commercial cell ag facility.
While we’re only in January, the building blocks were put in place last year to make 2021 a breakout year for the technology. Last month, Eat Just made history by making the world’s first sale of cultured meat in Singapore. In Israel, Supermeat opened a test kitchen that offers cell-cultured chicken dishes in exchange for feedback from diners.
Aleph Farms even generated a bit of high-profile news itself last month when Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, did a public tasting of the company’s steak.
Despite all the forward momentum, there are still a number of regulatory issues that need to be designed and implemented for this new technology. With cell cultured meat technology becoming more of a reality, expect a steady stream of announcements in the space throughout the year.