Cultured Meat May Be Available in the US Soon. Here’s What You Should Know
Americans could be eating cultivated meat – also referred to as cultured or cell-based meat – much sooner than we think. San Francisco-based food tech company Eat Just just announced that it will build the world’s largest cultivated meat production facility stateside by 2024. The budding industry aims to provide customers with meat alternatives that replicate the exact taste and texture of conventional meat without animal agriculture.
Signing a multi-year with ABEC, Inc to design, install, and commission the biggest bioreactors for cell culture, Eat Just’s new facility will prepare the United States for commercial cultured meats. The 10 250,000-liter bioreactors will produce sustainable, cell-based beef and chicken products for Eat Just’s brand GOOD Meat. The company revealed that the site for the facility will be located in the next three months and become operational in late 2024.
Once operational, the food tech company expects the facility will produce 11,800 tons of cultivated meat by 2026, and 13,700 tons by 2030. Despite the production capabilities, GOOD Meat cannot deliver cultivated meat to consumers until the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture grant the brand regulatory approval.
ABEC and Eat Just originally partnered to expand the company’s production capabilities in Singapore. Although nearly 170 companies worldwide have worked on cultivated meat, GOOD Meat is the sole company to gain regulatory approval in Singapore in December 2020. ABEC is working to develop a 6,000-liter bioreactor for GOOD Meat’s Singapore facility, beginning production in 2023. Within the U.S., ABEC will manufacture bioreactors for the company’s Alameda, California headquarters, which are expected to be operational by 2022.
“Our first step was receiving regulatory approval and launching in Singapore,” Chief Executive of Eat Just Josh Tetrick said. “Our second step has been selling to customers through restaurants, street vendors, and delivery platforms. We’ve learned that consumers want this, and we’re ready to take the next step to make this happen at commercial scale. I am very proud to partner with the ABEC team to make this historic facility happen.”
Tetrick hopes that cultivated meat will provide generations with sustainable food, adding to the massive selection of plant-based alternatives available. By producing cultivated meat on this scale, more consumers will have access to environmentally-friendly, cruelty-free options. The company has submitted its request to gain regulatory approval. The Good Food Institute found that cultivated beef production would reduce global warming risks by 92 percent when compared to conventional beef farming.
“I think our grandchildren are going to ask us about why we ate meat from slaughtered animals back in 2022,” Tetrick said. “Cultivated meat matters because it will enable us to eat meat without all the harm, without bulldozing forests, without the need to slaughter an animal, without the need to use antibiotics, without accelerating zoonotic diseases.
“The bioreactors will be far and away the largest, not only in the cultivated meat industry but in the biopharma industry too. So the design and engineering challenges are significant, the capital investments are significant and the potential to take another step toward shifting society away from slaughtered meat is significant.”
Cultured Meat is Nearly Available in the U.S.
While GOOD Meat currently leads this innovative industry, the major cultured meat brand is joined by several significant players including UPSIDE Foods. The food tech company recently secured a $400 million Series C investment package. The company’s valuation shot up to $1 billion and the funding round stands as the industry’s largest funding round to date.
“The cultivated meat industry has reached a historic inflection point,” Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Upside Foods Uma Valeti, Ph.D., said. “Our team has a proven track record of overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges in our mission to make our favorite food a force for good. Working in partnership with our world-class coalition of investors, we’re excited to bring delicious, sustainable, and humane meat to the consumers around the world.”
UPSIDE is preparing for regulatory approval within the United States, expecting to usher in a new era of meat consumption within the year. The company intends to use the funding round to bulk up its production capabilities. Last November, the company opened its EPIC facility that’s eventually capable of producing approximately 400,000 pounds of cultivated meat per year.
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