Tyson co-led the Israeli based startup’s $2.2 million seed round, in which the Neto Group, S2G Ventures, BitsXBites, and Agrinnovation also participated.
Future Meat manufactures animal fat and muscle cells for meat without ever having to actually raise and slaughter animals, and without genetic modification. Right now, this is a fairly expensive process: current production costs are $10,000 per kilogram, according to the company’s Chief Scientist, Yaakov Nahmias.”We redesigned the manufacturing process until we brought it down to $800 per kilogram today, with a clear roadmap to $5-10 per kg by 2020,” he said in a press release.
If Future Meat can make that cost efficiency a reality, it could very well be an enormous advantage for the company in terms of how it stacks up to competitors. And as one expert noted earlier this year, price and taste are two crucial factors for any company looking to make an impact in alterna meats.
The company is also looking to get away from using fetal bovine serum, which is widely known as the key to lab-grown meat right now. No doubt some of the new funds—which Future Meat says are for engineering activities and biological research—will go into developing an alternative element. Future Meat is currently looking for engineers, chefs, and scientists.
The company is one of a growing number of startups and initiatives making alternative forms of meat a reality. Memphis Meats, another Tyson investment, also makes lab-grown meat and raised an undisclosed sum at the beginning of 2018. And last summer, JUST (formerly Hampton Creek), said it would bring lab-grown meat to market by the end of this year. There’s also Integriculture, who not only makes clean meat but is also trying to develop “agricultural-scale cell culture” for uses beyond food.
Meanwhile, it seems there’s a “clean meat revolution” happening in Israel. The country is home to not just Future meat, but also SuperMeat, who recently raised $3 million Meanwhile, Soglowek, a big-time meat producer in Israel, just announced its plans to donate 20 percent of profits to SuperMeat, in addition to launching its own plant-based meat label.
None of this is very coincidental, since Israel is both a leader in tissue engineering and home to the largest number of vegans per capita in the world. And with companies like Tyson and Soglowek backing both lab-grown and plant-based meat concepts, it’s looking like the future of meat is less of an either-or scenario and more about finding the most sustainable, cost-effective, and tasty alternative.