Foodtech start-up SuperMeat is working on developing cultured meat – that is, meat grown using animal cells but without needing to kill the animal. The company is seeking investment to help it grow the world’s first lab-grown chicken breast, with technology that can be used to produce the meat at home.
Koby Barak, co-founder and CEO of SuperMeat, said he wanted to “revolutionise the food industry, and promote an animal-free humane solution to world hunger and environmental degradation”.
“Our team is comprised of a diverse group of advocates, scientists, health professionals, and environmentalists, coming together to create an incredible and truly ground-breaking device that will grow real, tasty meat, with zero animal suffering, and reach the market within five years.”
Higher nutritional value
SuperMeat is working towards creating a device that could be utilised by supermarkets, restaurants and consumers in the home to produce their own chicken breasts without killing the animal. The meat would also have its nutritional value optimised with increased protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins calcium and iron, said the company.
The work is said to be possible due to advancements in chemical engineering, genetics, stem cell biology and regeneration. SuperMeat co-founder, Professor Yaakov Nahmias is director of the Alexander Grass Centre of Bioengineering at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research into cultured meat is funded by the European Research Council. Some of his work included the 3D printing of complex liver tissue in 2006.
Nahmias and Barak hope to have a lab-grown chicken breast available in two years. They said the technology would help the industry move to a sustainable, environmentally-friendly and affordable structure.
Factory farms in the US produce close to 9bn chickens every year and the growth and transportation of livestock produces nearly a fifth of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to SuperMeat.