Israeli biotech and food-tech startup SuperMeat has raised $3 million in seed funding and has formed a 'strategic partnership' with PHW, one of Europe’s largest poultry producers, and an equity investor in the company.
Clean meat, which is grown in a lab, is a contentious issue. While it isn't a vegan product, as it relies on using animal cells, many see it as an ethically and environmentally preferable option to tradition livestock farming.
With the recently secured funding, the Tel-Aviv-based company expects to bring its clean chicken products to market within three years, at a price point similar to the conventional chicken products currently available on store shelves.
This new round of funding follows a crowdfunding campaign which raised $230,000 in pre-orders for SuperMeat's clean meat products.
According to a spokesperson: "SuperMeat's clean meat is produced by growing cells that have been painlessly extracted from a chicken.
"The cells are then grown in conditions that allow them to thrive, forming high-quality chicken cuts.
"This process puts an end to the industrial need to mass produce animals for slaughter, while eliminating exposure to animal waste and food-borne illnesses; the potential benefits for public health and animal welfare are therefore considerable.
"At the same time, clean meat is also highly beneficial for the environment, with drastically reduced carbon and ecological footprints compared to current meat production methods.
"According to research conducted by Oxford and Amsterdam Universities, switching to clean meat will allow a reduction of up to 98 percent in greenhouse gas emissions, 99 percent in land exploitation, and up to 96 percent in water usage."
The ethics of lab meat
?Commenting on the new partnership with SuperMeat, PHW-Gruppe's CEO Peter Wesjohann said: "We at PHW have time and again left the beaten path in conducting our business.
"This approach not only facilitates the development of best-in-class animal welfare concepts in our core poultry business, but will also lead to the strengthening of our vegan product portfolio, confirming our leading role in the global consumer trend towards a cleaner, more protein-rich diet.
?"The equity investment in SuperMeat is evidence of our forward-thinking strategy. SuperMeat is consistent with our pursuit to provide Europe with sustainable, clean foods– we do not see this transaction as a financial investment but rather as the beginning of a long-term strategic partnership.
?"We look forward to working together with SuperMeat and are committed to supporting the company in its research and development, as well as the strategic positioning of its products in the European market.
"Our R&D, marketing and distribution expertise will contribute to the success of this exciting and promising company - thereby contributing to the development of cultured meat."
SuperMeat's crowdfunding campaign
?Ido Savir, Co-founder and CEO of SuperMeat, said: "We’re proud that SuperMeat is at the forefront of the rapidly-evolving clean meat industry.
"Our team is comprised of a diverse group of top-tier scientists, food engineers and chefs, working together with the best production experts from the pharmaceutical industry to create a new generation of meat products that are sustainable, cost-efficient, animal-friendly, and of course - delicious.
"We are proud to partner with a top-tier meat producer like PHW; this partnership will enable us to bring to market a revolutionary new generation of tasty, sustainable meat products throughout Europe and beyond."