MeaTech 3D, a technology company developing a suite of advanced manufacturing technologies to produce cultured meat products, is planning to establish, own, and operate a pilot plant to commence scaled-up cultured chicken fat production in 2022. The company’s European branch, MeaTech Europe, has also commenced food technology development activities, with an initial focus on hybrid foods, which are food offerings composed of both plant and cultured fat and/or protein ingredients.
One of MeaTech Europe’s main activities will be food technology development on behalf of the MeaTech group of companies. The initial focus will be to facilitate the development of a variety of hybrid food offerings based on chicken fat from MeaTech 3D’s recently acquired Antwerp-based subsidiary Peace of Meat BV. Food technology development activities will focus on enhancing Peace of Meat’s cultured chicken cell products, including optimizing key aspects like taste, texture, flavor, mouthfeel, and nutrition.
This plan is consistent with MeaTech’s vision of developing sustainable premium cultured foods. The cultured fat production process will be designed to deploy technologies of Belgian subsidiary Peace of Meat, which was acquired by MeaTech earlier in 2021. MeaTech’s goal is to produce cultured chicken fat for use in potential industry collaborations.
As observed in laboratory work and public taste tests, cultured chicken fat has the potential to significantly enhance the flavor, mouthfeel, and texture of plant-based alternative meat products whilst reducing the total number of ingredients. The resulting hybrid food products, composed of plant and cultured meat ingredients, have the potential to offer a meatier product to consumers as compared to purely plant-based meat alternatives. MeaTech is engaging in food technology development activities designed to further enhance these cultured chicken ingredients and products.
MeaTech intends to use the pilot facility to showcase the company’s capabilities to potential customers. MeaTech’s business model involves licensing the intellectual property surrounding its cultured chicken fat technologies, including cell lines, bioprocesses, and downstream technologies to B2B customers that want cellular agriculture manufacturing capabilities.
“We believe that our cultured fat is an extremely promising additive ingredient that can potentially improve the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of plant-based alternative meats, which we believe can further drive market growth”, said Sharon Fima, CEO of MeaTech. “A key challenge facing the cultured meat industry is cost-efficient production. We believe that establishing this pilot plant facility and scaling up our cellular agriculture technologies will be a significant step forward toward achieving cost parity with conventional meat as well as realizing MeaTech’s vision for the ‘Factory of the Future’ – comprising the inputs, processes, and equipment underlying a flexible cultured meat manufacturing facility”.
Manufacturing cultured chicken fat at scale would represent a key MeaTech milestone. By leveraging its cultured chicken fat technologies, MeaTech aims to expedite its market entry while it develops, in tandem, an industrial process for cultivating and producing real meat cuts, such as steak or chicken breast, using 3D bioprinting technology. Ultimately, MeaTech plans to incorporate its 3D bioprinting technologies in the pilot plant, to manufacture real meat cuts from cellular agriculture.
“Setting up a pilot plant to produce Peace of Meat’s cultured chicken fat at scale will be a significant milestone. With it, we believe we can demonstrate a fully functional production process to B2B customers looking to include cultured ingredients in their products. We believe the pilot plant can be a model for larger-scale future production facilities”, said Dirk von Heinrichshorst, CEO and Co-Founder of Peace of Meat.