02 May 2018 --- Israeli food-tech start-up, Aleph Farms Ltd., is one of only a handful of clean meat companies globally, and until now, clean meat has been limited to structures of one or two types of cell tissue, limiting its applications to ground meat. The company has just announced two significant advances in the production of clean meat: expanding the composition of the meat itself and growing it in a more structured way.
Aleph Farms’ 3D technology relies on creating a complex tissue composed of the four core meat cell types. They are then able to grow these cells on an intricate proprietary three-dimensional platform. Aleph’s clean meat mimics traditional cuts of beef in both structure and texture, but without beef’s substantial environmental impact, its burdensome resource requirements, or its contribution to climate change.
The world-class scientific team behind these innovations is headed by Professor Levenberg, Dean of the Bio-Medical Engineering Faculty at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, a top science and technology research institution. Scientific American named Levenberg one of the world’s 50 leading scientists for her groundbreaking interdisciplinary work in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Now, she’s using her expertise to advance clean meat.
“It has been a major hurdle to mimic meat’s many properties, such as texture, shape, juiciness, and flavor,” states Prof. Shulamit Levenberg, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Aleph Farms. “Our use of the four cell types found in conventional cuts of meat, including vascular and connective tissues, is the key to a product that will be closer to the beef that people crave.”
Speaking to exclusively to FoodIngredientsFirst, Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms said: “The two key challenges for clean meat are, firstly, the cost of production and the scale up. Producing a large amount of meat at a low-cost with processes that fit in line with the vision of clean meat has been quite well addressed by the industry, but has been a challenge. Secondly, the ability to provide an attractive end product, not necessarily a protein, but a new approach using advanced technology which can be used in an end product, which provided a new eating experience.”
“Consumers – especially millennials and flexitarians – care about animal welfare and the environment,” explains Toubia. “At the same time, they want to eat juicy, indulgent steak – not just ‘protein.’ Our goal is to help these consumers adhere to their personal standards while getting to enjoy safe, sustainable meat.”
“There is definitely a demand for clean meat in the industry today and this is mainly driven by consumers from both the US and Europe,” he notes. “Meat-eaters are looking for better solutions so that they can continue to eat meat, which has been produced in a more sustainable way, for the future of the planet.”
“As an Israeli company, we will be shipping worldwide, we are required early in the development process to look for markets outside of Israel and where we see a demand from their consumers.”
Toubia maintains that food safety is a major concern, coming from those in the US and Europe. “The advantages of clean meat means that you can produce meat in a controlled environment, it is real beef from the same cow, but by developing it in this way, we can make sure that the end product is free from any contamination. In my opinion, that is one of the main advantages of clean meat,” he claims.
With food ingredient or product, it has to go through regulatory and food safety checks, says Toubia. “Instead of a lab environment, we use a similar process to that or beer processing, so the meat in ‘grown’ in similar ways to breweries, in large tanks, called bio farms.”
Toubia believes that “an attractive end product clean meat is the key to success, and worldwide interest is growing. Food is consumed for the experience and we want to focus on the unique eating experience for our consumers,” he notes.
Currently, issues around beef production have been raised as a concern, regarding sustainability, the efficiency of production and animal welfare. According to Toubia, this unique technology will gain traction in the industry and Aleph Farms hopes to offer more solutions for clean meat to the industry as a whole.
Bruce Friedrich, Executive Director of The Good Food Institute (GFI), a non-profit promoting the clean meat industry, is excited about Aleph Farms’ vision for the future. “GFI’s objective is to help leading scientists and entrepreneurs apply their expertise to clean meat development. Israel’s start-up mindset allows the team at Aleph to leverage this rich history and technological leadership to create breakthroughs in clean meat,” he says.
This comes at a time when there is increasing consumer demand for protein that impacts less on the environment and is less reliant on feed, land and water.And it isn't the first time innovators have been active in this area.
Back in August last year, clean meat innovators Memphis Meat has received groundbreaking support from investors, including billionaire entrepreneurs Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates, as well as one of the world’s largest global agricultural companies, Cargill. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Memphis Meats is developing methods to produce meat directly from animal cells, without the need to breed or slaughter animals.
It released the world’s first clean meatball last February and the first-ever clean poultry in March 2017 and plans to bring real meat to the market that is marketed as significantly better for the environment, animals and public health.
The rise of cultured meat has been a key discussion area for several years, with pioneering research from the University of Maastricht leading to the creation of the spin-off company MosaMeat in 2015, two years after a US$250,000 artificial meat hamburger was presented to the world’s media to much hype, the technology has entered a new stage, with commercial viability moving significantly closer. You can read more on this here.
By Elizabeth Green
To contact our editorial team please email us at email@example.com
06 Mar 2018 --- Foodtech start-ups are popping up all over the world as entrepreneurs tap into emerging food and beverage trends, fueled by the aim of creating pioneering products that resonate with today’s (and tomorrow’s) mindful consumer. From US meat-free innovators raising huge sums of money to finance the future of lab-grown meat to smaller European independent entrepreneurial start-ups entering different ingredient sectors, the age of the successful start-up within the food tech space is undoubtedly upon us.
02 Mar 2018 --- Lab-grown meat is making waves among some of the world’s biggest investors tipping the innovation to be the future of protein-packed food – and now new research reveals nearly one in three consumers are willing to eat it.
02 Feb 2018 --- Clean meat innovators Memphis Meats has been getting a lot of attention from investors recently with billionaire businessmen Richard Branson and Bill Gates staking their claim in the pioneering company last year – and now the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods has invested in the food tech startup which lab-grows meat directly from animal cells.
03 Jan 2018 --- Groundbreaking Israeli food-tech startup, SuperMeat, has raised US$3 million in seed funding and has joined forces with one of Europe’s largest poultry producers, PHW, establishing itself as a significant contender in the global shift towards lab-grown clean chicken.The recent seed round was led by US-based venture capital fund New Crop Capital and VC firm Stray Dog Capital with both firms saying they are openly committed to investing in more sustainable food systems.
Food Ingredients News
24 Aug 2017 --- Clean meat innovators Memphis Meat has received groundbreaking support from investors, including billionaire entrepreneurs Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates, as well as one of the world’s largest global agricultural companies, Cargill. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Memphis Meats is developing methods to produce meat directly from animal cells, without the need to breed or slaughter animals.