GFI and the European Union’s EIT Food have announced the winners of their Cultivated Meat Innovation Challenge.
The competition, launched in June, challenged teams to come up with new ways of reducing the cost of cultivated meat. The high cost of cell culture media is currently one of the main barriers when it comes to bringing cultivated products to market.
The four winning organisations are:
- BioBetter — an Israeli company using tobacco plants to produce cell growth factors. The plants are used as “sustainable bioreactors”, and can be harvested up to four times per year.
- S2AQUAcoLAB — a Portuguese research organisation assessing the potential of microalgae to produce the ingredients needed to cultivate seafood.
- LenioBio — a German pharmaceutical company that will use its existing technology to produce proteins by stripping materials from rapidly-growing plant cells. The company will work with Kerry Group to see how this technology could be used to develop cultivated meat growth factors.
- 3D Bio-Tissues Ltd — A British spinoff from Newcastle University, currently producing human corneas for eye transplants. The company will combine its existing formula, made from industry byproducts, with growth factors made by Cambridge-based OKine. This could reduce the amount of cell culture media needed to cultivate meat.
Each organisation will receive a €100,000 prize, and will be aided to bring their ideas to market within three years.
“It’s fascinating to see the sheer diversity of these ideas and the wide range of organisations that have come forward to crack one of the biggest challenges preventing this sustainable food becoming affordable to all – potentially slashing the carbon emissions of our food system while satisfying rising global demand for meat,” said Seren Kell, science and technology manager at the Good Food Institute Europe. “These teams now have a huge opportunity to drive prices down, and their work could have a major impact on how quickly we can scale up production as part of a more sustainable food system.”