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London Tech Week

Meatable bites off $35M funding to bring you guilt-free meat

Meatable co-founders, Daan Luining (CTO) and Karin de Nood (CEO)
Image credit: Meatable

Meatable, the Dutch food company that is putting cultivated meat on our plates, has closed a $35 million funding round, bringing their total investment raised to $95 million. The round was led by Agronomics, with Dutch impact fund Invest-NL joining as a new investor, contributing $17 million. Existing investors including BlueYard, Bridford, MilkyWay, DSM Venturing and Taavet Hinrikus (chairman and founder of Wise) also renewed their support.

The investment will fund the company’s growth and expansion at a time that consumers are increasingly considering the ethical and environmental impact of traditional meat consumption. Krijn de Nood, Meatable’s CEO and co-founder, answered TFN’s questions about their product and the company’s future.

Real meat, not not a meat alternative

Meat has always been part of the human diet, but increasingly people have been seeking alternatives that avoid animal suffering and do not have the devastating impact on the environment that industrial farming can cause. However, Meatable offers the prospect of eating meat without those costs. “The key point is that cultivated meat isn’t ‘like’ meat — it is meat!” de Nood told us. “It looks like, tastes like, and has the nutritional profile of traditional meat.”

Taste testers in Singapore, where Meatable are launching its first commercial products, reported that they would not have been aware it was cultivated meat. The process replicates natural cell growth, creating real muscle and fat cells, the two ingredients that make meat taste like meat.

Meatable can make their meat with a single sample of cells, taken without harming the animal. “We’re proud of the fact that we can create real, cultivated meat without harming animals,” de Nood told us. Targeting people who are concerned about the impact that traditional meat products can have, Meatable will also be promoting cultivated meat as a choice. “We are aiming to make that choice as self-explanatory as possible. We also know that education is essential. The more people know about cultivated meat, the more they are open to it and willing to try it.”

Currently, they are focused on producing high-quality cultivated pork, but the process means they can adjust to match the profiles of different types of meat. “We can fully differentiate our cells, which allows us to create the perfect level of fibre formation, protein and fat accumulation,” de Nood explains. For those who struggle between the taste and smell of their favourites and the impact their choice has, de Nood has good news. “When someone tries a Meatable cultivated pork sausage or dumpling, or even delicious pulled pork, salami and pork belly, they are enjoying the same taste, texture and nutritional value of conventional meat, without the guilt associated. With our experience in producing pork, even bacon sandwiches may soon be a welcome addition.”

Meat that doesn’t cost the earth

Meatable also intend to have a significant impact on the planet. Their pork can be produced in just eight days, 30 times faster than traditional pig rearing. And this could transform what can be a damaging industry. Independent research by CE Delft found that cultivated meat could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 92% and land use by 95% compared to traditional agriculture. Jim Mellon, co-founder of Agronomics, said, “with 80 billion animals slaughtered and 70 per cent of the Amazon rainforest already destroyed, there is a real need to find a solution that can provide meat at the scale needed to address a growing mass market.”

The funding will be used to put Meatable in a position to make that difference, helping Meatable scale up and optimise its process, so it can compete with traditional meat on both cost and volume. Their first products will be available in select restaurants in Singapore from 2024, and they are establishing a presence in the US, which has just granted its first approval for the sale of cultivated meat products. They also hope to take advantage of their home country’s decision to be the first European nation to allow cultivated meat taste testings.

Although the cultivated meat industry is still in its infancy, de Nood sees it as world-changing. “By 2035, we hope to save an estimated 27 million animal lives cumulatively,” he told us. And he wants to change attitudes, too. “In the long term, Meatable wants to completely transform how people eat meat: we want to ensure people around the world can continue to satisfy their appetite for meat, but without harming animals, people, or the planet,” he said. “To do this, we need to think big and bold. We believe cultivated meat is the essential way to solve the world’s food problems — you need to be able to scale to feed billions of people, and we have the technology to do so.”

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