Nestlé is exploring alternatives offered by the emerging lab-cultured meat market, according to an official company statement.
The Swiss giant has been working on alternative meat products that would combine cultured meat with plant-based ingredients.
To understand the potential of future meat alternatives, Nestlé is gauging scientific trends or innovative methodologies that make it possible to create artificial meat, such as cell fermentation or 3D printing.
“These novel technologies can lead to more environmentally friendly products,” the company said.
Nestlé Research scientists in Lausanne are working with Israeli startup Future Meat Technologies, a leading cultured meat startup.
Its patented technology is innovative and cost-effective, providing the opportunity to produce non-GMO cultured meat components from animal cells.
Future Meat Technologies has successfully tackled and overcome its main challenge, which was to reduce costs.
100 grams of its lab-grown chicken has dropped to $4, a price it plans to halve by the end of 2022.
The startup wants to start selling its products in the United States by the end of 2022, pending regulatory approvals.
“For many years we have been investing in our protein expertise and the development of proprietary technologies for plant-based meat alternatives, allowing us to continuously expand our wide range of tasty and nutritious products with a lower environmental impact,” said Reinhard Behringer, director of the Nestlé Institute for Materials Science at Nestlé Research.
He stressed that, in addition to plant-based meat options, they are also looking for other alternatives such as synthetic, lab-made versions of meat.
“Providing people with delicious, nutritious, and sustainable plant-based products is a priority for Nestlé,” the company said.
Nestlé has experience in developing plant-based products under its Garden Gourmet brand. It has also expanded its portfolio of alternatives to milk by launching a pea-based drink in Europe.
Several giants in the meat industry itself have backed cultured meat start-ups in recent years, according to a Bloomberg report.
Tyson Foods and Cargill have invested in growing meat in space while BRF SA and Mitsubishi Corp. are working with Aleph Farms, whose latest round was backed by Thai Union Group and South Korea’s CJ CheilJedang Corp — Aleph Farms created the first lab-grown beef steak.
Reducing livestock production by 50% would save 12,000 species and 30% of biodiversity loss each year, as co-founder of plant-based meat company Heura Bernat Añaños explains in the report Appetite for Destruction.
This would also be equivalent to saving 4.45 million square kilometers of arable land, the size of India and Mongolia combined. According to Appetite for Destruction, 60% of all biodiversity loss is due to livestock farming.
According to a study by US consulting firm AT Kearney, cultured meat and meat substitutes are on track to “disrupt the multi-billion dollar global meat industry.”
The study estimates that about one-third of the world’s meat supply will be based on alternatives in the next 10 years and that the cultured meat market will have an annual growth rate of 41% per year, displacing animal meat by 2040.