ISRAEL – Multinational food and biotechnology corporation Ajiinomoto has entered the cultivated meat market through a strategic partnership with Isreali food startup SuperMeat.
The partnership will leverage Ajinomoto’s expertise in biotechnology and fermentation to produce commercially viable and competitively priced products.
At the moment, Singapore is the only jurisdiction in the world where there is regulatory approval for the sale of cultured meat products.
Progress towards regulatory approval is however being made in other jurisdictions in Asia and North America, giving hope for an age where the novel food product is widely available.
Interest in cultured meat continues to be sustained as the product is seen as a healthy alternative to animal meat as it is less contaminated than animal meat.
Cultivated meat production also reduces dependence on natural resources such as land and water and therefore can address the growing concerns over food security.
The cultivated meat market is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years and in 2030, it could provide as much as half of 1% of the world’s meat supply, according to McKinsey.
At that time – less than 10 years from now – McKinsey estimates the global cultivated meat industry to be worth US$25bn.
Ajinomoto’s native Japan represents an interesting opportunity for the cultivated meat industry as it is heavily dependent on imports – since its food self-sufficiency rate is 37%.
However, between cultivated meat development and market success, major barriers including regulation, consumer acceptance, and cost continue to derail progress.
The partnership between Ajinomoto and SuperMeat is set to break the cost barrier and ultimately produce competitively priced cultivated meat products.
Leveraging Ajinomoto’s expertise in biotechnology and fermentation, SuperMeat is expected to help establish a commercially viable supply chain platform for its cultivated chicken product.
Ajinomoto will invest in SuperMeat to support commercialization and cost reduction efforts, as well as the launch of a new industrial facility in the US.
As suggested, one of the focus areas of the partnership is the development of cell growth media and its ingredients applicable to cultivated meat.
“Cell feed (AKA media) is the major cost driver for cultivated meat production, accounting for 60-80% of the marginal cost of the product, similar to animal feed in traditional meat production,” explained SuperMeat CEO Ido Savir.
As a ‘global leader’ in biotechnology and food ingredients, Ajinomoto is well positioned to provide global supply chain solutions for cell feed ingredients, he continued.
“This joint effort will provide the cultivated meat industry for the first time with media and related ingredients helping to remove one of the main barriers and bottlenecks of the industry’s path towards commercialisation and cost parity.”
SuperMeat intends to launch its first products in the US market next year and other geographies, ‘wherever regulatory approval is granted’.
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