Commercialization of laboratory cultured meat is coming closer. Pioneer Mosa Meat has raised 7.5 million euros for the construction of a factory that will bring an affordable product to the market within three years.
The money comes from M Ventures (the investment fund of pharmaceutical company Merck) and from the Swiss meat processor Bell Food Group, reports Mosa Meat in a press release. The startup wants to use the means to develop a cheaper production process for cultured meat and to prepare the construction of a pilot plant. A first product should reach the market by 2021: Merck's know-how in the field of cell cultures will help.
Mosa Meat, founded by Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University, presented the very first burger, bred on the basis of stem cells from a cow, in 2013. That piece of meat then cost around 250,000 euros. One of the first investors in the company was Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google.
Environmentally conscious alternative
The new donors believe cultured meat has a bright future: "Replacing traditional meat production with cultured meat will have a huge impact on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and would be a disruptive for an old, established and currently unsustainable industry," says Alexander Hoffmann of M Ventures. “The demand for meat continues to rise and will no longer be able to be met by traditional livestock farming in the future ", says Lorenz Wyss, CEO of Bell Food Group. "We believe this technology can be a real alternative for environmentally conscious consumers."
However, it is not yet that far. One of the bottlenecks is the approval for consumption by the European Food Authority EFSA - in fact, cultured meat is a so-called 'novel food' - and that procedure can take years to complete.