• Germany’s Alife Foods Develops Cultivated Schnitzel With Animal-Free Growth Medium

    German foodtech startup Alife Foods has contacted vegconomist to report it is developing a cultivated schnitzel in partnership with Fuchs Group and the US’ LabFarmFoods.

    The schnitzel contains just four ingredients — cultivated beef, wheat protein, panade (wheat flour mixed with vegetable oil), and methylcellulose. The beef cells are grown using a plant-based cell culture medium, avoiding the ethical concerns and high prices associated with animal serums.

    Sensory evaluations have been ongoing since late 2021, and a finished prototype of the schnitzel will be presented to investors later this year. Alife hopes to launch commercially in about 2025.

    Alt-meat on the agenda in Germany

    In November 2021, the new German coalition government committed to promoting alt-protein products, marking the first time this had ever been on the political agenda. At around the same time, Cem Özdemir — a vegetarian — was appointed the country’s Minister for Food and Agriculture.

    Cem Özdemir Germany Vegetarian Minister
    Cem Özdemir © Sedat Mehder

    A paper published in 2020 outlined how Germany could become a leader in cultivated meat, following a series of scandals relating to conditions in slaughterhouses. Then, just a few weeks ago, the German Federal Health Minister said a dramatic reduction in meat consumption was needed for health, environmental, and animal welfare reasons — a sentiment echoed by Alife Foods.

    “We believe that eating meat is a celebratory part of our many different cultures but the way we are growing meat is inherently unsustainable,” says the company on its website. “We think that it’s in our human nature to proactively shape our world with technology. We believe in a future in which we can indulge in the pleasure of eating meat without the suffering of animals and the disastrous effects on the environment.”

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