Fork & Good inaugurates cultivated pork factory aiming to solve “permanent instability” of meat
16 Mar 2023 --- With a pilot facility in Jersey City, US, Fork & Good plans to tap into the giant US$820 billion pork market with cell-based meat by cultivating muscle cells. The business explains that muscle cells are cheaper and simpler to produce than the alternative stem cells, which will allow a lower shelf price in the future.
Furthermore, instead of growing cells with traditional scaffolds, the company uses a patented bioprocess that allows for increased yields and density in production.
“Achieving high yields at an affordable price point is incredibly complex, and Fork and Good is uniquely equipped for the task,” says Adam D’Augelli, True Ventures.
“Its Jersey City facility can produce six to ten times more pork per square foot than would be possible using traditional farming methods, with far less water and minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystem.”
“From my experience in hydroponics, it became clear that low yield was the reason cultivated meat was so expensive,” adds Niya Gupta, Fork and Good co-founder and CEO. “We measure yield by feed conversion in livestock, and it was too low in cultivated meat. Our feed conversion is already close to that for pigs and we’re on track to be better.”
The business plans to expand to other types of meat in the future.
The company wants to combat the issues with conventional pork farming, namely viral diseases, antibiotic resistance, shrinking water and land resources and environmental impacts. All of which contribute to price volatility.
Last year, for example, China battled skyrocketing prices for the meat commodity, only achieving to alleviate the crisis through a full-on government intervention that released massive amounts of pork reserves into the market. Pork prices peaked at 98.8% higher than a year earlier in mid-October 2022.
Moreover, animal activists raised the alarm over a high rise of pig farms with the capacity to slaughter around 1.2 million pigs annually. Critics warned the facility could cause the next global pandemic. Furthermore, they claim it undermines climate change policy and animal welfare, as well as workers’ rights.
Companies have doubled their efforts to drive scalability and to overcome critical cost challenges. Netherlands-based Mosa Meat, the original creators of the first cell-based hamburger, has struck a deal to optimize cell feed.
Meanwhile, Israeli innovator Aleph Farms is set to increase production capacities by acquiring VBL Therapeutics Facility and a partnership with ESCO Aster.
In addition, Triplebar and Umami Meats are starting a technology collaboration to optimize cell lines for sustainable seafood.
On the whole, food accelerator programs have been betting big on start-ups to feed future generations while combating climate change.
As of now, Singapore leads the cultivated meat commercialization race. Earlier this year, the country hit another cultivated meat milestone by approving Good Meat’s use of serum-free media to produce lab-grown chicken for human consumption.
By Marc Cervera
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