Qatar Likely to Become Second Country to Allow Cell-Based Meat Sales

|Updated Sep 2, 2021
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So far, Singapore has been the lone country to allow the sale of cell-based meat. No other nation has completed regulatory approval of the sustainable, lab-grown animal alternative, but that may be quickly changing as Qatar is projected to become the world’s second country to allow cell-based meat on the market. The Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) and the country’s Ministry of Public Health recently indicated an intent to grant regulatory approval for GOOD Meat – the cultured meat branch of California-based food tech company Eat Just.

“Our team is grateful to take the next step in our global expansion in the Qatar Free Zones,” Eat Just Co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick said. “Their commitment to accelerating our work in building a more sustainable food system was apparent from day one of our dialogue—and we’re expecting to look back decades from now on this partnership with them as key to how we made that vision a reality.”

Eat Just–the company best known for its egg replacer JUST Egg–partnered with Doha Venture Capital (DVC) and the QFZA to establish its first-ever cultured meat production facility in the Middle East and North Africa region. The company intends to build its new facility in the Umm Alhoul Free Zone, giving it access to the Hamad Port. The facility will be dedicated to producing GOOD Meat’s sustainable cultured meat products. The company also announced that it plans to open another facility in the region to produce its signature JUST Egg products.

Qatar’s partnership with Eat Just is heavily motivated by the country’s mission to become less dependent on imports. By helping Eat Just establish a food production facility, Qatar will establish an internal supply of sustainable plant- and cell-based proteins. The country intends to become a major export of plant-based and cell-based products in the region. Access to the port will allow for significant exports to surrounding countries. The QFZA and the Ministry of Health formally granted Eat Just an export license to encourage and enhance the company’s distribution.

“At QFZA, we help companies cut through the noise to rapidly establish and grow efficient operations, using Qatar’s unparalleled connectivity and access to expand worldwide,” QFZA CEO Lim Meng Hui said. “We’re particularly focused on companies shaping the future of their industries, and Eat Just’s team is doing just that.”

Waiting on regulatory approval, Eat Just will prepare for the distribution and sale of its cultured meat products. Following approval from the government, Qatar will become the second country to introduce the innovative product onto the market. The government intends to push innovation and sustainability within its food production industry to adhere to a growing demand for food with low environmental costs.

“Our free zones are characterized by innovation, technology, accelerated growth, and environmental awareness, and Eat Just is a natural partner across all four of these areas,” Hui continued. “Our food, agritech, and biomedical sectors continue to grow rapidly, supported by the world-leading cold chain storage capabilities of our airport and port, and we look forward to working with Eat Just as they establish and scale in the region and worldwide.”

GOOD Meat’s inaugural launch happened at the Singaporean restaurant, 1880. The country approved the GOOD Meat chicken following an extensive review process. The upscale restaurant featured the company’s cultured chicken in a variety of upscale dishes, showcasing to the world the potential of the lab-grown protein.

The overwhelming positive consumer response has encouraged investors worldwide to support both Eat Just and GOOD Meat. In May, the food-tech company secured a $170 million investment package for its cultured meat brand. The funding package allows for the company to enhance its production and open its production facility in Singapore.

DVC’s investment in GOOD Meat marks the first time the venture capital firm has taken interest in plant-based or cell-based protein innovation. As cell-based meat enters the international spotlight, investors have become interested in the long-term value of the sustainable alternative. A report from the Good Food Institute found that the cell-based meat industry secured $360 million last year.

“Eat Just is a highly innovative company with a bright future, and we’re pleased to be one of the investors in the company and welcome them to Qatar Free Zones,” DVC CEO Mohammed Al Abdulla said. “This partnership is a prime example of our commitment to supporting high-growth disruptors as they develop technologies that will change the world while helping them take advantage of the many opportunities here in Qatar and across the region.”

The Surprising Reasons these Five Country Singers Went Meat-Free

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1. Carrie Underwood Loved Her Family's Farm Animals

Seven-time Grammy Award winner Carrie Underwood has been hailed for her “enormous” vocal range. When it comes to her diet, Underwood’s a fan of breakfast burritos and lots of tofu. She doesn’t shy away from the carbs, either. According to Cheat Sheet, one of her favorite snacks is a toasted English muffin with peanut butter.

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2. Blake Shelton Wants to Keep Up With His Older Girlfriend

Singer, songwriter, and “The Voice” coach, Blake Shelton, 43, has been working to stay fit recently with help from his long-time love, Gwen Stefani, who is a vegetarian and told him to get off the meat if he wants to feel fitter and lose some weight. Shelton has been trying to keep up with Stefani's impressive fitness level, according to an interview Stefani gave this fall. The former No Doubt singer and Hollaback girl is a longtime vegetarian, eats a mostly vegan diet, and is super fit-- and at 50, looks younger than her years. A source told Gossipcop, “Gwen’s told him the way to lose it is to stay the hell away from meat and bad carbs.” We're rooting for him!

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3. Shania Twain Has the Key to Gorgeous Skin

The best-selling female country music singer in history isn’t buying any expensive steak dinners after a performance. The “Queen of Country Pop” has sold more than 100 million records but says she keeps her meat-free diet simple. She is both vegetarian and eats very little dairy -- though at times has said she does eat eggs.


4. Annette Conlon, Folk Artist with a Passion

Americana singer and songwriter Annette Conlon is also a passionate vegan. She started “The Compassionette Tour,” in an effort to bring compassion, social consciousness, human interaction, and animal issues to a mainstream audience.

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5. Johnny Cash, Walked the Vegan Line Late in Life

The Man in Black is synonymous with country music, even nearly two decades after his death (1932-2003), probably in part because of the biopic about his life starring vegan actor Joaquin Phoenix. Ask any die-hard country music fan (or your dad, for that matter) and they will tell you that Johnny Cash was one of the best-selling musicians of all-time. His scores of hits include “I Walk the Line” and "Hurt" "A Boy Named Sue" and dozens of others. Cash himself was believed to have lived meat-free later in life to help combat some health issues. At Johnny Cash’s Kitchen and Saloon in Nashville, you can also load up on the meat-free dishes as the restaurant boasts a fully stacked veggie menu that includes greens, sweet potato mash, and fried okra.