Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

The $280,000 lab-grown burger could be a more palatable $10 in two years

Stock MarketsJul 10, 2019 04:31AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. Mercedes Vila, co-founder of Biotech Foods, poses for a photograph outside the company's laboratory in San Sebastian

(This July 9 story corrects to change company name to Biotech Foods in paragraph five.)

By Andrés González and Silke Koltrowitz

MADRID/ZURICH (Reuters) - Lab-grown meat, first introduced to the world six years ago in the form of a $280,000 hamburger, could hit supermarket shelves at $10 a patty within two years, European start-ups told Reuters.

Consumers concerned about climate change, animal welfare and their own health are fueling interest in so-called clean meat, with the number of associated business start-ups climbing from four at the end of 2016 to more than two dozen two years later, according to the Good Food Institute market researcher.

Plant-based meat alternatives are also booming. Shares in Beyond Meat (O:BYND) have more than tripled in price since its initial public offering in May. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods each sell 100% plant-based meat alternatives to retailers and fast food chains across the United States.

And cultured meat grown from animal cells could be next on the mainstream menu, with producers eyeing regulatory approval as they improve the technology and reduce costs.

It was Dutch start-up Mosa Meat's co-founder Mark Post who created the first "cultured" beef hamburger in 2013 at a cost of 250,000 euros ($280,400), funded by Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) co-founder Sergey Brin, but Mosa Meat and Spain's Biotech Foods say that production costs have fallen dramatically since then.

"The burger was this expensive in 2013 because back then it was novel science and we were producing at very small scale. Once production is scaled up, we project the cost of producing a hamburger will be around 9 euros," a Mosa Meat spokeswoman told Reuters, adding that it could ultimately become even cheaper than a conventional hamburger.

PRICE PARITY

Biotech Foods co-founder Mercedes Vila also highlighted the importance of moving from lab to factory.

"Our goal is to reach production scale and have regulatory approval by 2021," Vila said.

She said the average cost of producing a kilogram of cultured meat is now about 100 euros, significantly below the $800 cited a year ago by Future Meat Technologies, an Israeli biotech company that has received funding from U.S. meat processor Tyson Foods (N:TSN).

Biotech Foods, Mosa Meat and Higher Steaks, a London-based competitor also contacted by Reuters, have yet to file applications for EU approval because they are still working to improve their growth serum.

To make cultured meat, stem cells from the muscle of an animal are placed in a culture medium that is then put in a bioreactor - similar to those used for fermentation of beer and yogurt - to support growth of new strands of muscle tissue.

Liz Specht, associate director at the Good Food Institute market research firm that focuses on meat alternatives, said in a white paper this year that it was likely that cell-based meat would achieve price parity with conventional meat once production is on an industrial scale.

Specht identified the cell culture medium as the most significant cost driver and said it was possible to produce it without animal-derived components and at much lower prices.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Proponents of this new technology say it's the only environmentally sustainable way to satisfy meat demand that the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization expects to double between 2000 and 2050.

But John Lynch, an environmental scientist at the University of Oxford, said it remains unclear whether scalable lab-grown meat production can really convert energy and nutrients into meat more efficiently than conventional meat production.

"Some studies have suggested that cultured meat may require less of a 'feed' source than conventional livestock production, but require more energy. If this is the case, then their impact on the climate will depend on where this energy comes from," he said.

Interest in the category has ensured start-ups have had ample access to funding.

Biotech Foods' Vila said the company had sufficient funds up to 2021, the year it hopes to generate its first revenue, thanks to a capital injection from an unidentified investor.

Mosa Meat has meat processors Bell Food Group (S:BELL) and Merck KGaA's (DE:MRCG) venture capital arm M Ventures among its investors.

In May food and agriculture group Cargill announced it had invested in cultured meat company Aleph Farms.

The $280,000 lab-grown burger could be a more palatable $10 in two years
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email