Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

California Cultured Signs 10-Year Agreement for Cell-Cultured Cocoa with Japan’s Largest Chocolate Company

California Cultured, a West Sacramento-based startup specializing in plant cell culture, has announced a partnership with Meiji Ltd. Co., Japan’s largest chocolate company. This collaboration involves the integration of California Cultured’s cell-cultured cocoa products into Meiji’s lineup of packaged goods. Part of the co-branded collaboration includes a 10-year commercial agreement positioning California Cultured as the supplier of its “Flavanol Cocoa Powder” to Meiji.

“This is the beginning of the future of chocolate”

California Cultured uses cellular agriculture to create cultured chocolate and coffee, addressing several critical issues associated with the chocolate industry, such as deforestation and biodiversity loss. The company gained financial backing from CULT Food Science Corp in 2022, which has furthered its mission by diversifying CULT’s cell-based food portfolio and aiding the advancement and commercialization of California Cultured’s products.

Alan Perlstein, founder and CEO of California Cultured, commented, “There is a progressively growing supply gap in the cocoa industry. This is the beginning of the future of chocolate. It marks the first time cell-cultured chocolate will enter any market worldwide. According to Steven Stearns, Head of Strategy at California Cultured, the product line will include chocolates, truffles, and wellness-enhancing chocolate products designed for consumer use.

California Cultured
© California Cultured

Sustainable alternative to traditional methods

The process behind California Cultured’s product involves harvesting cells from a cocoa plant and cultivating them in fermentation tanks. This method not only presents a sustainable alternative to traditional cocoa production but also addresses critical issues such as labor exploitation prevalent in the industry. Perlstein highlighted the environmental benefits, noting that “Plant cell culture has a far smaller GHG footprint than other types of cell technologies.”

With proprietary manufacturing technology developed in-house, California Cultured is gearing up for commercialization within the next two years, aiming to become the fastest cell-cultured company to receive FDA GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) approval.

“We need to build a resilient, superior future for chocolate”

Perlstein concluded, “With our scalable technology, we’re positioned to excel and dominate in the field of plant-based cellular agriculture, where we pioneer the creation and cultivation of cells to redefine how we grow and produce innovative, sustainable products.”

He adds,”We need to build a resilient, superior future for chocolate. This partnership is the first step in achieving this.”

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