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Steakholder Foods eyes consumer market for cultivated meat: Our strategy has evolved from B2B to B2B2C

Steakholder Foods, the cultured meat company formerly referred to as MeaTech, was the initial and continues to be the only real cultivated meat innovator listed on the Nasdaq stock market. From 2019, Steakholder attempt to produce whole cuts of meat using cellular agriculture and 3D bioprinting. The Israel-based food tech company takes stem cells from animals and utilizing a growth media and clean energy grows muscle and fat cells in bioreactors.

After that it differentiates the cells and the companys proprietary 3D bioprinting technology prints whole cuts of meat at an industrial scale to generate ‘any ratio’ of muscle mass and fat marbling, without damaging cell viability. It had been recently granted its first patent (among numerous pending patents) for systems and methods that enhance muscle fibre formation to build up high-quality meat.

For all of us, its been [about] pushing our R&D to new levels, leader Arik Kaufman reflected. This moonshot mentality, once we prefer to call it, is what got the corporation and our R&D effort off the bottom. It had been our need to tackle probably the most complex challenge in neuro-scientific cultured meat — 3D printing cultured steak that might be indistinguishable from the conventional whole cut of meat. This type of and ambitious initial goal is what enabled us to attract the very best and brightest biologists and engineers in the field. And today that we keep these things, we’re able to constantly push our R&D to another level.

Having started its innovation journey in beef, Steakholder keeps growing its capabilities in poultry, seafood and pork through internal R&D alongside a number of strategic acquisitions and tie-ups. In 2021, the business acquired Belgian avian developer Peace of Meat; last month, it announced a collaboration with cultured seafood company Umami Meats; and earlier this week, Steakholder revealed it has started developing cultured pork products from the new type of iPS porcine cells. This new stem cell line was produced from cells reprogrammed back to an embryonic-like pluripotent state, enabling one cell bank to become an unlimited and highly scalable source for developing any kind of muscle or fat cells for cultured meat production, the business explained.

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Steakholder Foods keeps growing its portfolio of slaughter free products / Pic: GettyImages-apomares

An evolving commercial model

Alongside its deep-tech R&D efforts, Steakholder Foods in addition has been evolving its commercial model. This journey has seen the business move from strictly being truly a developer and B2B provider of 3D printing technology for cultured meat production to food manufacturers and retailers to also being truly a producer of culture meat products in consumer-oriented markets, the principle executive told FoodNavigator.

This shift has necessitated a re-brand which will communicate the brand new proposition. As our commercialisation strategy has evolved from B2B to B2B2C, the logical next thing was to rebrand ourselves as primarily a food company. We wanted a name that could reflect the truth that ultimately, our aim would be to produce delicious, nutritious food. We also wanted a name that could communicate our need to build an open community of meat lovers who value environmentally friendly and social issues surrounding the traditional meat industry and desire to take part in our mission to create real meat sustainable, Kaufman explained.

The how part is actually still essential. Our technological capabilities are one of many items that makes us unique in this industry. And being truly a B2B provider of 3D-bioprinting technology continues to be very much an element of our business design.

As its first rung on the ladder towards commercialisation, Steakholder now could be centered on developing hybrid products through its Belgian subsidiary Peace of Meat in collaboration with B2B mycoprotein supplier ENOUGH. Peace of Meats cultured avian biomass will add the signature flavours, aromas and textures of conventional meat to plant-based products, such as for example chicken nuggets, patties and meatballs, Kaufman predicted.

Using its new game-changing hybrid foods which will come nearer to mimicking the taste and texture of conventional meat, Steakholder Foods intends to capitalise on the growth of the plant-based meat substitute market, a sector that shares our sustainability mission and concerns concerning the issues surrounding the traditional meat industry. We expect these services could have strong appeal among flexitarians among others who still love meat but due to ethical, moral or environmental concerns, are determined to lessen their meat intake.

Three main hurdles remain

This resonance with a consumer already seeking to make changes with their diet – often for sustainability or animal welfare reasons – is essential because, Kaufman suggested, acceptance is among the three main hurdles facing the cultured meat industry, alongside cost and scalability.

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Acceptance, cost and scale will be the ‘main barriers’ facing cultivated meat companies / Pic: Getty Images hinterhaus

While regulatory approval must date only been granted in Singapore, Kaufman is confident other regulators will observe suit and suggested this is simply not the largest issue standing in the form of the emerging technology.The completion of regulatory approvals will likely help with public acceptance. However in this regard, it really is primarily on the shoulders of industry players and advocates to properly educate the general public on the virtues and great things about cultured meat, he elaborated.

Kaufman was also upbeat on the price outlook, which he referred to as decreasing on a regular basis.Growth factors for used in cell media have already been a large contributor to high cost. We have been constantly attempting to decrease the cost of cell media. Scaling may also bring costs down. One major missing element for scalability has been technology infrastructure. And a large advantage Steakholder Foods has (and grounds why we have been at the forefront of our sector) is that people are developing the technology infrastructure which will enable effective scalability and manufacturing flexibility (predicated on market demands) the will demand in the coming years.

Our ongoing R&D and marketing efforts together are addressing all three of the issues cost, scalability and public acceptance. And after we obtain the regulatory greenlight, everyone can experience the top quality of our products from the standpoint of taste, texture, nutrition, and safety. Cost, scalability and quality will all effect public acceptance. Public acceptance will signal that people have successfully moved beyond all three hurdles. So when public acceptance grows, our scaling efforts increase which can only help to keep lowering costs.

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