Cultured meat startup Eat Just gets $170M27 May 2021
Eat Just announced its Good Meat division, which is responsible for producing the world’s first commercially-available cultured meat product, received $170 million in funding from UBS O’Connor, Graphene Ventures and K3 Ventures. With this influx in funding, Good Meat is now a subsidiary of Eat Just.
Funds from this transaction will be used to increase capacity and accelerate research and development for the company’s cultured meat division. R&D continues to be a focus for Eat Just and its subsidiaries, which have received a total of $370 million in 2021 alone. In March, investors gave the parent company $200 million that it said it would use to accelerate R&D and expand its foothold in international markets.
Although Eat Just is based in San Francisco, the company has seen its most outstanding success in Singapore where it received governmental approval late last year to begin selling its cell-based chicken in restaurants. In a few short months, Good Meat has pioneered the introduction of cultured chicken into foodservice throughout the country.
In conjunction with this funding round, the Eat Just subsidiary announced that it is partnering with JW Marriott Singapore South Beach’s Cantonese restaurant Madame Fan to introduce cultured chicken into dishes on Thursdays in lieu of the conventional product. While this substitution will initially only be for delivery orders, it will shortly transition to the restaurant’s on-site dining room. Good Meat’s cultured chicken also became available on the grocery delivery app foodpanda last month.
“We’re confident that GOOD Meat will lead the cultured meat category starting with the $193 billion chicken market,” said Graphene Ventures managing partner Nabil Borhanu in a statement.
Not only is the chicken market large, but according to a survey done by Eat Just, the majority of meat eaters are hungry for alternatives that are more environmentally friendly. In a poll, two-thirds of consumers said they were open to substituting conventional meat with cultured meat. Other studies confirm this finding. Israel-based Aleph Farms similarly found that 80% of U.S. and U.K. consumers would try cultured meat.
However, a willingness to try cell-based meat does not necessarily indicate that consumers will become converts, as lab-grown meat continues to carry an “ick factor” association in many cultures. Nevertheless, Eat Just is confident that the conventional meat industry is ripe for disruption and that culture meat is the answer.
While Eat Just only has regulatory approval from the Singaporean government, it is looking to break into its home market in the U.S. In its release, the company said it will quickly scale production in North America and Asia through multi-million-dollar investments in facilities in the U.S. and Singapore while evaluating collaboration and acquisition opportunities in the fast-growing sector.
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