Meatable and Royal DSM join together for affordable cultivated meat

22 Sep 2021

Dutch cell-based meat manufacturer Meatable partnered with the Dutch ingredients manufacturer Royal DSM to jointly develop affordable growth media for cultivated protein. In addition to price, the joint partnership will focus on the development of meat-like taste and texture – a challenge that both fermented and plant-based alternatives have continued to face – of the final product, the companies said in a written statement.

Currently, growth media for cell-based meat accounts for 50-90% of the production cost, said Meatable in a statement. However, if the companies are able to achieve a cost that is closer to price parity with conventional meat, the company said that cultivated protein “will have a trillion-dollar market potential.”

Meatable and Royal DSM join together for affordable cultivated meat

Finding an alternative source of protein is becoming a pressing concern for manufacturers. By 2050, the world population is expected to reach 10 billion, a figure that the current animal protein market will not be able to support, according to data from the United Nations. In order to provide for a growing population, companies like Meatable, Mosa Meat, BlueNalu and Future Meat Technologies are working to create meat without the need for traditional agriculture.

Not only do meat alternatives present a viable alternative to feed a growing population, but they are an emerging source of revenue for companies hungry for bottom-line growth. According to a Barclays report from 2019, the alternative meat market, which includes lab-grown meat, will capture 10% of the $1.4 trillion global meat industry and reach $140 billion during the next 10 years.

However, for cultivated meat to play a large role in the overall alternative protein sector, price parity remains a hurdle that companies need to contend with.

A critical component to be able to create cell-based meat at scale with an attractive price point is reducing the costs associated with the growth medium in which cells are cultivated. This substance – which used to be fetal bovine serum (FBS) but has now branched out to include a variety of alternatives – provides nourishment for the growing cells. But despite the importance of growth medium to the process of developing cultivated meat, it is currently the component of the process that remains the majority of the cost for lab-generated protein. While progress has been made since the debut of a $325,000 hamburger grown by Mark Post in 2013, DSM and Meatable are nevertheless looking to continue to push prices down.

“With this joint development agreement, DSM will contribute its unique competencies in biotechnology, such as fermentation, analysis and production scale-up to help make the science of cultivated meat a reality.” Wim Klop the Vice President at the DSM Biotechnology Center, said in a statement.

Although Meatable is still very much in the production stages for its products, the Dutch company told AgFunder News in March that it intends to have its product available in stores in 2025. At the time of this announcement, the company said it was unsure what the price of its meat would be, but this new partnership may turn out to be the key that turns cultivated meat into an affordable alternative option for consumers.

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