SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa based cell-cultured meat company, Mzansi Meat Co. has unveiled the region’s first cultivated beef burger, a massive milestone for the brand and a breakthrough for food security on the continent.
The burger was prepared at a bespoke event in Cape Town where co-founders Brett Thompson and Tasneem Karodia, together with the head of taste, Absie Pantshwa, had a bite of the ground-breaking burger alongside Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth at the City of Cape Town.
Now that the first burger has been developed, Mzansi Meat Co’s next step is scaling up with the target of producing tons of cultivated meat every month in the future.
“Cellular agriculture wasn’t an industry in Africa until Mzansi was born. Our burger is only the beginning, we now know it’s possible and the next step is scaling up,” Brett Thompson explains.
In the pipeline, the lab grown meat producer is readying production of sausages nuggets, steaks and even chicken, as its goal is to produce meat that can be used in traditional African cuisine.
“Everything we make will be braai-friendly and ready for the fire! We’re working on plans to scale up and move into a pilot production facility as well as a rollout plan with retailers and restaurant partners,” indicated Tasneem Karodia.
As the company celebrates this massive milestone, getting here has been an intricate process. The journey begins at a local farm animal sanctuary where veterinarians remove tiny tissue cells from donor animals, who roam free with as little harm as possible.
Once the cells are harvested, a sample is placed in a nutrient-rich transport medium and taken to the Mzansi Meat Co. lab where they isolate the cells and grow them in a culture medium.
This is a special type of food containing vitamins, salts and proteins that the cells need to develop and divide.
Once they have enough cells, they place them on an edible structure and after adding a few additional spices and flavours, the cultivated meat is ready to be dished up and enjoyed.
Traditionally, livestock is maintained until it reaches maturity and once it has, the livestock is slaughtered and the meat cuts are harvested.
Mzansi Meat Co believes that this method has become inefficient as many of the animals live in crowded unsanitary conditions.
In addition, Africa’s population is growing and by 2050, the continent can expect another billion mouths to feed.
The current agricultural landscape needs innovation to make it better, thus making lab grown meat a perfect fir to ensure food security, sustainable utilization of resources and cruelty free handling of livestock.
Launch of the cultivated beef burger comes days after another innovator in the space, Mogale Meat, unveiled the region’s first cell-cultured chicken.