It is striking that alternative meat products can have a positive impact on the environment. If we transition to a plant-based diet over the next 15 years, between 61 and 68 percent of greenhouse gas emissions can be avoided.
There is a big scaling problem with alternative meat.
According to the Good Food Institute, alternative meat producers will need to create 800 production facilities and spend $27 billion over the next decade to meet global demand.
The high costs of growth factors used in cell-cultured meat is one of the scientific problems cultured and plant-based meat companies need to solve. The scaling problems are seen by some as a foothold in the alternative meat space. Rather than launching brands, these are B2B alternative companies. There are two companies embracing this model.
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Mooji Meats was incorporated just 6 months ago and is currently raising its first seed round. The company has developed a 3D printer that can cut meat using plant or cultured meat cells. They're working on a 3D printed cut of beef, and expect it to be ready for taste tests within 6 months.
There is always a tradeoff between scale and texture. Other technologies are not creating good texture. Not for steaks. We overcame this trade off.
Mooji Meats was founded by Insa and Jochen.
Mooji can print out these cuts of meat using fat, tissue, and muscle cells, but she didn't give many details on how that happens. She says Mooji's main advantage is speed. One printing head is 250 times faster than existing 3D printers.
It isn't a crime to be secretive at this early stage. The proof of the enhanced operating speed needs to be seen soon. One would hope that Mooji's current $2.5 million raise would be enough to get the company to their first customer, and that it would be proof of concept in the real world.
If you think plant-based meats will have issues meeting demand, that's nothing compared to the cost challenges cultivated meats face.
Some companies claim to break the cost barrier. Future Meat raised a $347 million Series B round in December of 2021, and claimed to be able to make a pound of chicken for $7.70, less than half of the $18 price. The cost per pound of regular chicken is $3.
Anne-Sophie Mertgen, the founder of Micro Meat, said that most new cultured meat companies still struggle to get their businesses up and running at scale.
Micro meat experiments show meat in dishes.
The big players in the industry are completely vertical. We need to build this industry at a large scale to feed the world.
Mertgen's work at the Tec de Monterrey in Mexico was paused due to the Pandemic, while Micro Meat was founded in 2021. Micro Meat focuses on creating cell tissue scaffolds. Scaffolds are structures that allow the flow of food and help cells form mature muscle tissues. Unstructured ground products don't need complex scaffolds, but cuts like steaks do.
She said that they can growtissue scaffolds using the same processes that the meat industry is using.
Micro Meat has created a cultured pork product that is currently in a prototype phase. The company has raised $375,000 in pre-seed funding and is in the process of raising a $2 million seed round.
Mertgen said that the round should provide up to two years of runway to establish an R&D line, perfect more devices and consumables, and get some co-development contracts.
The team is made of Micro Meat. Ann-Sophie Mertgen andVincent Pribble are from the left.
Both Micro Meat and Mooji Meats share a larger thesis: there is an opportunity for B2B players in the alternative meat space.
The first B2B players entered the market in 2017: Mertgen said. This is a very young industry, but I think it's going to be needed.
The industry as a whole is evolving, and she says that she is seeing some of these companies emerge now.
There are more holes in the alternative industry that need to be plugged. There are two options that stick out right now that are more diverse and cheaper.
There is money for companies to dig into these problems. The amount of private funding into the space has gone up. $3.1 billion was poured into alternative proteins, a 3x increase from the previous year. We have continued to see big funding rounds close.
That is a nice setup for an industrial alternative meat platform company with the ability to scale this science. Each supply chain problem is a big challenge that can break a company if not a career.