The Silicon Valley startup Memphis Meats has received investments from Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, CEO of General Electric (GE) Jack Welch. These investors are pouring funds into the new technology developed by Memphis Meats that can develop meat artificially. Moreover, Cargill Inc., the largest agricultural corporation is also planning to invest in the company. The company has already raised $22 million funds in its first round.
The ‘clean meat’ that is being developed by Memphis Meats can solve the world’s food crisis. However, it has only one problem that it costs around $18,000 a pound. Hence, to bring down the cost, the company has raised $17 million from big tech companies and food industry giants. With increasing demand for meat and the demand that is estimated to grow around 70% by 2050 is resulting in significant strain on the food industry to meet the growing demand. Moreover, meat-production utilizes maximum resources including water and land and generates around 1/5th of greenhouse gas emission.
Hence the new technology by Memphis Meats uses minimum natural resources. The company harvests meat cells from living animals and grow these cells in the lab for 4 to 6 weeks. Once it is done, the meat is ready to be cooked and consumed. The company has already produced beef, chicken and duck meat from the grown cells using the new technology.
This revolutionary technology producing clean meat has eliminated the need of slaughterhouses and uses less natural resources including land, water and energy to produce meat. Hence, this technology can completely bypass the need to raise poultry and cattle or the need for slaughter. According to Memphis Meats, it needs around 10% of water and 1% of land for conventional agriculture. Hence the way conventional meat is produced carry threat to the environment and human health.
This technology can also meet the increasing demand for an organic meat and has emerged as animal-friendly and more sustainable compared to the current procedure to produce meat. The company produces meat by feeding sugar and nutrients to the live animal cells. The company is still in the research phase, hence none of the products have yet hit the market. The company will be using the raised fund to reduce production cost and increase its operations. However, other companies such as Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat and Mosa Foods are also working on lab-grown meat to compete in the market.