JAPAN – Mitsubishi Corporation’s Food Industry Group is partnering with Israel-based start-up Aleph Farms to bring cultivated meat to Japan in an effort to help the country meet climate change and food security goals.

The two companies have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will see them work together with the aim of selling cultivated meat in the Asian country.

As part of the deal, Aleph Farms will use its manufacturing platform BioFarm for the cultivation of whole-muscle steaks.

 Mitsubishi, on its part, will provide its expertise in biotechnology processes, branded food manufacturing and local distribution channels in Japan.

“The MoU with Mitsubishi Corporation’s Food Industry Group marks an important milestone for us, as we methodically build the foundations of our global go-to-market activities with selected partners.”

Didier Toubia – co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms.

The collaboration is in line with the Japanese government’s goal of achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, up from its previous target of 80%.

 The densely populated country reportedly relies on importing over 60% of its food and resources from abroad.

Since 2000, the government of Japan, has however sought to raise the nation’s food self-sufficiency rate.

Both Aleph and Mitsubishi are members of the Cellular Agriculture Study Group, a consortium implementing policy proposals under the Japanese Center for Rule-Making Strategy.

In April 2020, Aleph Farms committed to eliminating emissions associated with its meat production by 2025 and reach the same net-zero emissions across its entire supply chain by 2030.

The partnership comes after Eat Just was granted regulatory approval for its cultured meat to be sold in Singapore, in what was deemed a ‘world first’.

According to a massive study published in the journal Science in 2018, production of meat and dairy uses 83% of global farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Because it has the potential for growth with a high level of efficiency — and without the production of methane, ammonia, manure, and other waste products — lab-grown food is thought, at least in theory, to be more sustainable than existing animal agriculture.

Japan which depends on imports to feed its people will however significantly reduce this dependency if cultured meat is introduced in the country and accepted by its citizens.

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