Israeli firm announces record investment as it slashes estimated cost of producing cultivated chicken by more than half over the last six months
Future Meat Technologies has raised $347m in its latest funding round, which it claims marks the largest investment to date in a lab-grown meat firm.
The Israeli start-up, which cultivates chicken, lamb and beef products from animal cells, said the investment would help fund its expansion to the United States.
The company claims it can now produce a cultivated chicken breast for just $7.70 per pound, or $1.70 per 110-gram chicken breast, down from under $18 per pound just six months ago, potentially pushing cultivated meat closer to cost-parity with traditionally reared meat from animals.
Future Meat founder and president Professor Yaakov Nahmias said the firm’s rapidly falling production costs had paved the way for a “massive expansion of operations” beyond its first production line, which was opened in Rehovot, Israel earlier this year.
The company has confirmed it is currently scouting several locations be the site of a large-scale production facility in the US, with a plan to hit US market shelves in late 2022, pending regulatory approval. “Our team will break ground on the first-of-its-kind, large-scale production facility in the United States in 2022,” Nahmias said.
The investment round was led by ADM Ventures, the investment arm of US food multinational Archer-Daniels-Midland. Other investors included Israel’s Menora Mivtachim pension and insurance fund, Israeli venture fund S2G Investors, as well as the the venture capital arms of US food giant Tyson Foods and US food multinational Rich Products Corporation.
“We are incredibly excited by the massive support of our global network of strategic and financial investors,” said Nahmias. “This financing consolidates Future Meat’s position as the leading player in the cultivated meat industry, just three years after our launch.”
Cultivated meat has been shown in several studies to be significantly more environmentally friendly than livestock farming, producing only a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions and using significant less natural resources than traditional meat production.
Future Meat claims its cruelty-free production process cuts land and water use by 99 and 96 per cent, respectively.
“While Future Meat is leading the pack as the fastest growing company in this space, I truly see the entire cultivated meat industry as a massive agent of change, creating a sustainable future for coming generations,” Nahmias said.
The company said it had secured “industry leading” low costs due to its proprietary technology, which relies on stainless steel fermenters to continuously remove waste products generated by “immortal” tissue cells to create an environment where animal cells can multiply indefinitely.
It claims that this ‘connective tissue method’ is more cost-efficient and less wasteful than stem cell methods favoured by other food technology companies.
“We have consistently demonstrated that our single-cell technology and serum-free media formulations can reach cost parity faster than the market anticipates,” Nahmias said.