Charoen Pokphand Foods and Future Meat Technologies scale hybrid cell-based meat in Asia partnership
28 Mar 2022 --- Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), a Thailand-headquartered agro-industrial and food business, has entered a partnership with cell-based meat player Future Meat Technologies to develop hybrid cultured meat products – including varieties with the authentic properties of dark meat – for the Asian market.
The move addresses the unique consumer preferences of the Asian continent while leveraging CPF’s knowledge of local market demands and its broad distribution network in the region.
“We seek to introduce superior nutrition and healthier products. For example, our hamburger products would have far less saturated fats than farmed meat or even plant-based products,” Future Meat Technologies founder, Yaakov Nahmias, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
Prasit Boondoungprasert, CEO at CPF, comments: “After the first launch of CPF’s plant-based products under the Meat Zero brand last year, we have received exceptional recognition from the market both in Thailand and the Asian market.”
“This year, we will be rolling out to other parts of the world, including the US and the European markets. Cultured meat is another exciting technology, having the same sustainability and animal welfare proposition as plant-based meat.”
Asia banks on cell-based tech
CPF’s nascent interest in the cell-based industry mirrors a wider food movement sweeping Asia.
“Dark chicken meat is often preferred in Asian cuisine as it is more textured and rich,” notes Nahmias. “Future Meat’s unique extrusion technology allows us to reach this level of complexity with our cultured meat products.”
“Based on our consumer research, Asian consumers are more open to meat alternatives, specifically cultured meat with long-standing culinary traditions,” he adds.
“Our technology is uniquely suited to meet the rising demands for quality protein in Asia at a time of dwindling environmental resources. It is time to meet this challenge head-on to secure a future for all coming generations.”
Singapore was the first country to gain regulatory approval for cultured chicken, while public Chinese government records reveal that significant funds are being allocated to help China scale this burgeoning sector – as was previously done for the nation’s development of solar panels, lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicles.
Earlier this month, Japan-based food and biotech giant Ajinomoto Co. entered a strategic partnership with cultivated meat player SuperMeat to set up a commercially viable supply chain platform for the cell-based industry.
Last year, Mitsubishi Corporation’s Food Industry Group partnered with Aleph Farms to scale up whole-muscle steaks cultivated from cells.
From Tel Aviv to Thailand
CPF’s announcement comes months after Future Meat Technologies launched the world’s first cultured meat production line just south of Tel Aviv, capable of producing up to 500 kg of products a day.
Future Meat products are uniquely non-GMO as their technology allows chicken, lamb, pork and beef cells to grow forever without the use of genetic modification.
Proprietary engineering technology also allows the company to produce cultured meat products for less than US$16 per pound.
“One of our unique technologies relies on the production of cultured fat, which is solid at room temperature and thus, we don’t need to use coconut or palm oil,” says Nahmias.
“Future Meat Technologies is aiming to build a large scale production facility for its innovative products to augment its existing production line in Israel.”
Eliminating fetal bovine serum
Cell media, also known as growth medium – which is the substance used in cell-based production containing the nutrients needed for animal cell growth – accounts for the majority of cultivated meat production costs.
However, cell media has also come under criticism for its composition of fetal bovine serum, which large industry stakeholders such as Aleph Farms and Wacker have made moves to eliminate by scaling new fermentation-based media alternatives.
“Future Meat Technologies removed fetal bovine serum in 2020, two years before any of our competitors,” affirms Nahmias. “Since 2021, our production is animal-component free.”
By Benjamin Ferrer
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