Israeli startup Future Meat Technologies has opened the world’s first industrial cultured meat facility.
The production facility, based in the city of Rehovot, is capable of producing 500kg of cultured meat a day. That’s the equivalent of 5,000 hamburgers.
The startup is using bioreactors to culture meat, including ham, chicken and lamb, as well as beef in the future.
Future Meat Technologies’ CEO, Rom Kshuk, said: “This facility opening marks a huge step in Future Meat Technologies’ path to market, serving as a critical enabler to bring our products to shelves by 2022.
“Having a running industrial line accelerates key processes such as regulation and product development.”
The method of production
The company’s process involves taking proprietary animal cells and placing them in a bioreactor, where the cells continuously grow.
This usually requires the usage of animal serum but the Israeli startup is using methods that do not require material from animals.
Future Meat Technologies also uses a ‘media rejuvenation process’ that removes cellular waste more efficiently. The company say this has yielded 10 times more product than industry standards and has reduced production cost.
It also says its process uses 99 percent less land, generates 80 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, and uses 96 percent less freshwater than typical meat production.
The cultured meat industry is booming and is expected to reach $352.4 million by 2028.
Last year, the first cultured meat became available to buy for the first time in a restaurant in Singapore.
However, the costs of production are high; the first lab-grown burger cost $330,000 to produce in 2013.
But companies are quickly cutting these production costs down and Future Meat Technologies is producing price parity faster than market predictions.
At $4 per 100 grams, the company says this is the lowest price yet for a cultured chicken breast. It predicts the cost will drop even further in the next 12-18 months.
The company’s founder and chief scientific officer, Yaakov Nahmias, said:
“After demonstrating that cultured meat can reach cost parity faster than the market anticipated, this production facility is the real game-changer.
“Our goal is to make cultured meat affordable for everyone, while ensuring we produce delicious food that is both healthy and sustainable, helping to secure the future of coming generations.”
Future Meat Technologies is currently aiming for its products to reach markets in the US by 2022 and is currently exploring several US locations for expansion.