Israeli cultured meat bioprinting company MeaTech, listed on the Nasdaq and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, announced plans this week to launch a pilot plant in Belgium next year that would produce cultured chicken fat at scale.
Founded in 2018, MeaTech focuses on the 3D printing of cultured meat to develop commercial manufacturing technologies based on stem cells. Last year, the company’s scientists announced that they successfully completed the 3D printing of a thin, uniform, slaughter-free meat tissue produced from stem cells. To create the alt-meat, the company takes a sample of stem cells from the animal, reproduces these cells, divides them into different meat components, and 3D prints the meat into an accurate shape and structure.
The planned plant will deploy technologies developed by MeaTech’s Belgian subsidiary Peace of Meat, which the company acquired earlier this year.
The goal is to produce cultured chicken fat for use in potential industry collaborations, MeaTech indicated. “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,” the company said in a statement.
Its 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.
In the future, the Ness Ziona-based MeaTech said it plans to incorporate its 3D bioprinting technologies in the pilot plant to manufacture real meat cuts from cellular agriculture.
“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 MeaTech CEO Sharon Fima.
“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,” he added.
“Setting up a pilot plant to produce Peace of Meat’s cultured chicken fat at scale will be a significant milestone,” said Dirk von Heinrichshorst, CEO and co-founder of Peace of Meat. “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.”