New start-ups with meat industry join the Australian market to tackle mass production – ABC Rural

New start-ups with meat industry join the Australian market to tackle mass production – ABC Rural
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Australia has become the last country to join the growing meat industry in the lab, which to date has been dominated by food technology start-ups in Europe, Israel and California's Silicon Valley.

Key points from Lab grown meat

Key points:

  • Two Australian companies that grow meat in a laboratory from animal stem cells want to make the product commercially viable
  • Currently, the product is more expensive than regular meat
  • Companies hope the scale and technology will get to that point where lab-grown meat is a viable and more sustainable alternative to real meat production.

Two Australian companies, Heuros in Canberra and VOW in Sydney, aim to make meat grown from animal cell stem cells a commercial reality.

"Currently, we are the first company to emerge [in Australia]," said Heuros founder Nick Beaumont.

"I think there are others operating in stealth, but they have not yet shown their hand."

Despite the hype, no laboratory-grown meat company anywhere in the world has yet released a commercial product.

While they can easily produce the meat in laboratory settings, the startups still have not solved the mystery of how to scale up to large commercial factory size. [19659008] Heuros is trying to solve one of the biggest headaches for the emerging global industry – by creating a formula for cells to grow in that is environmentally sustainable and affordable, enabling laboratory meat companies to increase their production and make faux meat reasonable.

"We've made a lot of progress," Beaumont said.

"We might supply the material to make a burger piece of meat for $ 30-40, so we're close, but it's not quite comparable to the cost of traditional meat yet.

" The more we produce, the will be economies of scale and hopefully we can improve the price of the product. "

Keeping it natural

While many of the companies are struggling to produce so-called pure meat, developing its own growth medium behind closed doors, Beaumont said the company was trying to stand out by developing a product that was as natural as possible. [19659008] "We define it with technology ne we don't use, "he said.

"We do not use genetic modification, we do not use recombinant proteins.

Beaumont recently unveiled the company's ambitions at New Harvest in Boston, United States – a gathering of 150 leaders in the cellular agricultural industry, which included representatives from some of the 20 lab meat companies already operating.

" It's a great research effort that is being done in Australian universities, and we want to encourage some of these academics to really come on board, "he said.

A researcher at Melbourne University cuts meat from a cow biopsy to help free stem cells. [19659013] (ABC News: Marty McCarthy)

Another Australian clean meat company, VOW, rejected ABC's request for comment. [19659008] However, the company states on its website "our vision is to skip traditional agriculture completely."

"By building a cellular food production system, VOW exists to initiate a change to no longer be limited by boundaries we meet if we continue to "work the country".

VOW's website shows an image of a kangaroo with the slogan "better food." no compromise "laid upon it.

It also said that the types of meat grown from cells that future generations could eat were unlimited.

" In our unlimited future, there are no limits to the thousands of species we can draw on .

"An adventure to scour the earth like an Indiana Jones at the cellular level, and look at the earth for unique structures, flavors and sensations, without harm."

Venture capitalists who finance Aussie fake meat

Australian researchers and start-ups who want to enter the clean meat industry are attracting interest to local venture capitalists, although not on the scale of any of the leading US companies.

In 2017, California-based Memphis Meats announced that they had raised $ 23 million ($ 17 million) in a single funding round, attracting investment from major venture capital firms as well as billionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson.

Blackbird Ventures, a venture capital firm with offices in Sydney and Melbourne, recently pumped investment dollars into Heuros, though that doesn't matter how much.

Partner Niki Scevak said the company first became interested in Australian-based clean meat researchers and start-ups in 2017 after seeing how the quic bran industry grew overseas.

Mr Scevak said that the rapid development of technology, as well as a change in consumer attitudes, made the clean meat sector a potential gold mine.

Dutch researcher Professor Mark Post established the first laboratory grown citizen in 2013.

(Delivered: Mark Post)

"As the entrances to agriculture such as land, water and methane pollution are plaguing our planet, and especially the cost of beef is on an upward trajectory, we must consider alternative ways to feed the world, "he said.

"Because of that, there is a strong, powerful movement that is forming all over the world."

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that by 2050, the world's population is estimated to exceed 9 billion people. [19659008] Mr Scevak said not only will more people need food, but also the diets of people in developing countries will change and increase the demand for meat.

"People in India and China are rising out of poverty and we can see the same happening in Africa in the coming decades," he said.

However, the industry still needs to solve the scalability problem. and mass production before any of these lofty ambitions are reached.

"Is it a risky thing to invest in at this stage? Yes, it is," Scevak said.

"Chances are great that things will not go well beyond things.

" Venture capital involves looking for things that are unlikely, but doing so will have a huge impact on society. "

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