Nestlé Partners With Leading Lab-Grown Meat Startup

The food giant is poised to tap into the potential of lab-grown meat.
Derya Ozdemir

A booming cultured meat market is approaching, slowly but surely.

Food giant Nestlé has announced it is in talks with Future Meat Technologies to incorporate the latter's lab-grown meat in future food products, according to a statement released by the company. This might lead to a permanent shift away from traditional animal agriculture, as well as help deliver the emerging technology faster to the mass market on a global scale.

“For many years we have been investing in our protein expertise and the development of proprietary technologies for plant-based meat alternatives,” said Reinhard Behringer, Head of the Nestlé Institute of Material Sciences at Nestlé Research. “To complement these efforts, we’re also exploring technologies that could lead to animal-friendly alternatives that are nutritious, sustainable, and close to meat in terms of taste, flavor, and texture.”

Across the west, cell-based meat might become a common sight in supermarkets within the next three years, according to the Institute of the Future. Hopping on the wagon, Nestlé is evaluating scientific trends and novel techniques that make such meat possible, such as cell fermentation or 3D printing, to better comprehend the potential of future meat substitutes that do not lack in taste or sustainability.

This is where the Israeli startup Future Meat Technologies, a leading cultured meat startup, comes in. The startup employs a novel patented technology that allows them to grow real animal meat in a lab setting from a small number of animal cells, eliminating the need to raise and slaughter animals for food. Its main challenge was to reduce the cost, which it has successfully accomplished. The price of 100 grams of its lab-grown chicken has decreased to $4, which could be cut in half by the end of 2022.

According to Markets and Markets, the cell-based meat industry could be worth $20 million by 2027, while consulting firm Kearney estimates that lab-grown protein will account for a massive 35 percent of the global meat market by 2040. Nestlé also stated that it's working with several other external partners and startups, which has the potential to pave the way for more environmentally friendly products being available for wider audiences.

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