Late last year, we described San Diego-based BlueNalu’s process for creating petri-dish fish. We thought you’d like to hear about New Age Meats (NEM), a Berkeley-based cultivated meat company, founded in 2018, that does precisely the same – with pork.
Just yesterday (9th Jan 2020), this innovative Food Tech company won $2.7 million in seed money from investors that included Agronomics Ltd, Sand Hill Angels, Supernode Ventures, Hemisphere Ventures, and Kairos Ventures. The seed round was led by ff Venture Capital.
NEM recently moved into its own lab facilities in Berkeley and is building out its science and engineering teams, as it continues churning out alternative meat products for the market in the coming years.
Of the new $2.7 million, Brian Spears, CEO and Founder, said: “This funding enables us to grow our team, invest in automation equipment, and iterate our unique cultivators we design in house. We can’t wait to share tasty, sustainable cultivated meat with avid meat eaters.”
The NEM cultivation process is similar to that of BlueNalu
Staff at NEM place muscle stem cells from a live animal in a petri-dish full of nutrients, which stews in a bioreactor while the cells grow into trillions of such cells. These so-called “myosatellite” cells are then placed in a gel that is 99% water, which forces them to swell, growing into small strands of muscle tissue. Finally laboratory teams layer these strands into a product that looks (and tastes) just like – meat.
The meat is then processed using standard food technologies, like putting them through a meat grinder to make ground beef.
On its website NEM cites three benefits of their cell-based meat:
- The environment – Industrial animal agriculture contributes around 15% of the earth’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Making meat from cells reduces associated greenhouse gases by 96% while using 99% less land, 96% less water, and 45% less energy.
- Human health – Animal factory farming creates antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Humans are now using antibiotics of “last resort” to prevent deadly infections. More antibiotics are used on pigs per pound than on any other animal – 4 times more than cows!
- Animal well-being – 7.4 billion humans live on earth. We keep around 40 billion animals for food. Some of them live happy lives, but the vast majority do not. In the future, we won’t need cells or meat from animals, allowing them to live their own, natural lives.
“Cell-based meat,” Spears says (below), “reverses climate change, stops breeding animals into a life that’s not worth living, and helps humans live healthier. It’s tastier, healthier and more sustainable than meat made any other way.”
At a September, 2018, NEM sausage-tasting event, Brad told visitors how his cell-based product was as natural as “regular” meat: