MeaTech to set up facility to make cultured chicken fat

By John Reynolds on Wednesday 12 May 2021

MeaTech to set up facility to make cultured chicken fat
Image source: steak/pixabay
CommentaryPlant-Based FoodTech

Israeli startup is also looking to make a 100g cultured steak this year, as it looks to monetise its technology, which includes 3D printing.

MeaTech, the first cultured meat firm to be listed on the stock market, is setting up a pilot plant next year to make cultured chicken fat as it looks to monetise its offering.

The long-term goal of the Israel-based firm is to produce real meat cuts, such as steak or chicken breast, using 3D bioprinting technology.

One key milestone this year is to produce a 100g cultured steak which MeaTech says will “demonstrate our 3D printing capabilities”.

The cultured fat production process will be designed to use technologies developed by its Belgian subsidiary Peace of Meat, which was acquired by MeaTech earlier in 2021. Production at the facility will begin next year.

MeaTech said “cultured chicken fat has the potential to significantly enhance the flavour, mouthfeel, and texture of plant-based alternative meat products whilst reducing the total number of ingredients".

It says that hybrid food products, made up of plant and cultured meat ingredients, have the potential to offer a meatier product to consumers, compared to purely plant-based meat alternatives.

MeaTech’s business model is two-fold: licensing its technology as well as manufacturing some products, likely in the ingredients space.

Guy Hefer, chief financial officer, MeaTech, said “You will not see our products on the shelves with our brand. We will have a business partner that will either licence our technology or we will provide them with our raw materials.”

He added that MeaTech was looking “how to scale up a cost-effective way”.

Commenting on the pilot plant, Sharon Fima, CEO of MeaTech, said: "We believe that our cultured fat is an extremely promising additive ingredient that can potentially improve the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of plant-based alternative meats, which we believe can further drive market growth.

"A key challenge facing the cultured meat industry is cost-efficient production. We believe that establishing this pilot plant facility and scaling up our cellular agriculture technologies will be a significant step forward toward achieving cost parity with conventional meat.”

Dirk von Heinrichshorst, CEO and co-founder of Peace of Meat, said: “Setting up a pilot plant to produce Peace of Meat's cultured chicken fat at scale will be a significant milestone. 

“With it, we believe we can demonstrate a fully functional production process to B2B customers looking to include cultured ingredients in their products. We believe the pilot plant can be a model for larger scale future production facilities."

MeaTech initially listed on the Israeli stock exchange and this year listed on Nasdaq as well.

It has subsequently delisted from the Israeli stock exchange, which Hefer said would allow MeaTech to focus on more global investors.

MeaTech is currently at the R&D stage so does not currently make any revenue.

Its latest financial results show it lost $18.5m (£13.15m) in 2020, compared to a $0.4m (£0.28m) loss the year previous.