MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill has joined an investment group that raised $12 million to back lab-developed meat startup Aleph Farms.
Aleph Farms, an Israeli startup founded in 2017, grows meat directly from beef cells using a 3D tissue engineering platform. In December 2018, it achieved a world-first by demonstrating it could grow a steak directly from bovine cells. The company has pioneered a way to isolate the cells responsible for the process, and to grow them outside the animal into a structure similar to a steak.
“Consumer demand for protein continues to be very strong. That means there’s an opportunity for plant and cultured protein growth to complement our traditional animal protein portfolio,” said Sonya Roberts, managing director of growth ventures and strategic pricing for Cargill Protein North America.
Aleph Farms plans to begin building bio-farms and move toward a limited consumer product launch with steak grown under controlled conditions within three to five years.
Other alternative meat investments
The investment in Aleph Farms builds on Cargill’s other partnerships in alternative protein. In 2017, Cargill was an early investor in Memphis Meats, which is also developing cultured meat.
Cargill also is an investor in plant-based protein through Puris, a firm that has launched a new pea-based protein that is non-GMO, organic and allergen-friendly.
These investments complement the company’s investment in its traditional animal protein portfolio, officials say.
“We have a responsibility to look at all innovations that can help us feed the world,” said Jon Nash, president, Cargill Protein-North America. “We believe in the power of protein and the critical role animal protein will continue to play in nourishing the world for the long-term.”
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