Alternative proteins: cultured meat versus insects

Investment in cultured meat – or lab-grown meat – topped $350m last year, with 70 start-ups and more than 40 primary life science companies diving into the arena. That’s according to Good Food Institute’s (GFI’s) 2020 State of the Industry report on Cultivated Meat. The paper claims that within the alternative protein sector, which includes plant-based and fermentation segments, cultivated meat accounts for 14% of overall annual private sector investments.

$40-trillion-dollar investment network FAIRR claims 2021 has been ‘the year of cultivated meat’ as private investment in cultured meat technology hit $506m in the first six months of the year.

That momentum shows no signs of abating. Big consumer product manufacturers, ingredients and processing equipment suppliers attracted attention in 2021 by declaring their interest in the emerging market. In July, Nestlé announced​ it was ‘evaluating innovative technologies to produce cultured meat or cultured meat ingredients with several external partners and start-ups’.

The Valley DJI_0087-HDR-Variante_

The Valley in Kemptthal near Zurich

Givaudan, Bühler, Migros

Only last month, flavours and fragrances house Givaudan, technology firm Bühler and Swiss retail group Migros officially launched The Cultured Food Innovation Hub at The Valley in Kemptthal near Zurich. The aim of the new centre is ‘to accelerate the development and market penetration of cellular agriculture products’. It will start operations in 2022.

Ian Roberts, chief technology officer at Bühler, says: “Cellular agriculture offers a solution in several areas from reducing land use and water, to animal welfare, to the safety and quality of the food chain.”