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Evolved Meats snags $2M to develop sustainable lab-grown meat

Evolved Meats
Image credits: Evolved Meats

Evolved Meats (previously CaroMeats), a Canadian biotechnology startup, announced that it has raised $2M in its Seed round led by Maple Leaf Foods Inc, a Canadian protein company.

Others include the global protein fund, Big Idea Ventures, and investors like Garage Capital, Saltagen Ventures, the University of Waterloo’s Velocity Fund, and strategic angels, also participated. 

The funding will enable Evolved Meats to accelerate its product development and support the initial scale-up of its production processes.

What does Evolved Meats solve?

Worldwide demand for meat is expected to double by 2050 and as a result, new forms of production will be needed. In addition to that supply challenge, global meat production drives ~15% of total carbon emissions and is a key driver of climate change. 

Evolved Meats aims to mitigate both these challenges by growing meat directly from stem cells, representing a sustainable path forward. 

How does it solve?

CEO Alireza Shahin developed these provisionally patented innovations in tissue engineering during his Ph.D. and post-doctoral work in Dr. Ravi Selvaganapathy’s lab at McMaster University. 

Through his novel approaches to cell sheet engineering, Shahin discovered that he was able to create functional tissues that could then be arranged to replicate any cut of meat from any species

This allows Evolved to recreate the fibrous texture, marbling, taste, mouthfeel, and nutrition of conventional meat directly from cells without any exogenous materials, such as scaffolding or binders.

“Our ambition is to recreate meat in a way that is identical to nature by biofabricating functional muscle tissues and capturing the entire muscle to meat transition. The proprietary technologies underlying our modular system allow us to do exactly that. However, recreating whole cuts of meat is only part of the challenge. Our unique ability to create functional tissues will help us scale out our production while driving towards price parity with conventional meat,” says Shahin. 

He adds, “This mix of familiar cuts and affordable prices will enable Evolved to lead a massive transformation of the food system, and we are excited to work with Maple Leaf Foods and Big Idea Ventures to usher in that change.”

Species agnostic platform

The company’s species agnostic platform grows whole cuts of meat that are structurally and biochemically identical to conventional cuts of meat butchered from animals (eg. steak, pork belly, chicken breast, fillet of fish, etc). 

Evolved Meats says that its process uses significantly less land and less water than current meat production. Additionally, the company generates 96% fewer greenhouse gases and harms 100% fewer animals. 

In addition, Evolved can leverage its ability to grow functional tissue to create a unique production system that gives it the opportunity to become a low-cost operator in the space.  

John Cappuccitti, co-founder and COO says, “We have a once in a generation opportunity to reimagine our relationship with natural food, and we owe it to ourselves, the planet, and nature to make sure we do things sustainably. By creating whole cuts of meat directly from cells, we are enabling consumers to enjoy meat without compromise. We encourage anyone who wants to join this mission to reach out.”

“Maple Leaf Foods’ vision is to be the most sustainable protein company on earth. We are committed to supporting promising new technologies with the potential to nourish people and protect the planet,” said Michael McCain, President, and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. “We are excited to invest in Evolved, as they pursue their vision to produce cultivated meat production using their unique technology.”

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