Swiss cultivated meat start-up raises $2.2m; aims for 2022 product launch26 Mar 2021
This month, Swiss cell-cultured meat start-up Mirai Foods announced it raised US$2.2 million in a second seed round, bringing the total seed financing raised in 2021 to $4.5m.
Backers included German Family Office FRIBA Investment, Swiss advanced nutrition and biotech venture capital firm Skyviews Life Science, and the food company, Paulig, which invested through its venture arm, PINC.
The Zürich, Switzerland-headquartered start-up said it would use the money to accelerate its product development by recruiting new team members, improving in-house lab capabilities, and building a pilot production plant.
“With the additional investment, we are in an excellent position to strengthen the team and speed up our research,” said Christoph Mayr, co-founder and CEO of MIRAI. “This investment is critical for our mission to provide delicious, high quality cultivated meat at a fair price. Our partners not only share our mission but also have great strategic and operational capabilities.”
Specifically catering to European tastes
Mirai will initially focus on producing minced beef – aiming to launch its first product at the end of 2022 – before expanding into other “textures and species”. The start-up plans to cover the entire value chain itself, from R&D and production, to marketing and distribution, and is looking to specifically target European consumers.
“Europeans have a very high standard in terms of food quality, taste, and healthiness of their food,” Mayr told The Ingredients Network. “Also, Europeans don't like to eat anything that is genetically modified. [Our] meat is non-GMO and is optimized for taste and texture. It also has a healthier nutritional profile than traditional meat. This is a core focus of our whole company and reflected in everything we do.”
The start-up describes its products as ‘real meat without the downsides of industrial meat production’. Its production process is antibiotic-free and it can cultivate meat cells that have less saturated fat than conventionally-produced meat.
“We are […] are laser-focused on producing meat with a healthier nutritional profile than traditional meat, and we also have achieved significant milestones in record time, such as a tasting event with real cultivated meat only six months after our lab was up and running,” Mayr said. “This combination of product positioning and execution makes us unique in the marketplace.”
Cultivated meat already on the menu
To date, Singapore is the only region in the world where regulators have approved a cell-cultured meat product from a food safety perspective.
In December last year, food regulators in the Southeast Asian city-state gave the green light to US company Eat Just to sell its product, GOOD Meat Cultured Chicken. Eat Just announced the product would be first served in the 1880 restaurant as a part of a trio of sample dishes for around $23.
Reacting to the SFA’s approval, Asia Pacific managing director of the Good Food Institute (GFI), Elaine Siu, said: “The race to divorce meat production from industrial animal agriculture is underway and nations that follow Singapore’s lead will be able to reap the benefits as the entire world shifts to this new and better way of making meat.”
Stefan Catsicas, managing partner at Skyviews Life Science, which invested in Mirai, said that, going forward, cultivated meat would be a key contributor of a sustainable global food system.
“At the interface between food science and tissue engineering, Mirai is one of the leading next generation companies and we are delighted to be part of their journey,” he added.
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