Cell-cultured meat: New Age Meats raises $25m, gears up for small scale launch in 2022,

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One of a series of cell-cultured meat startups moving from lab to pilot scale, New Age Meats​(founded in 2018) will also use the new funds  – which take its cumulative funding to $32m – to double the size of its workforce, said founder Brian Spears, a chemical engineer with a background in industrial automation.

While investors understand that cell-based meat is a longer-term bet than plant-based meat, once you get beyond the seed stage they want to see hard evidence that you have a scalable proposition, said Spears, who is beginning with a hybrid approach.

I would say certainly much bigger players are interested​ [in investing in this space] who weren’t previously,” ​he told FoodNavigator-USA. “Certainly they are looking for capital returns instead of just being mission focused, and our differentiator is the volume and affordability we can bring to the cultured meat market.

“I kind of think of it as like this armada of ships that has set sail. In the beginning, they were all just like well let’s try it. Now that we’re in deep water, and almost to market, then bigger and bigger investors are seeing this as a viable opportunity.”

New Age Meats
Image credit: New Age Meats

Hybrid approach: ‘Why use animal cells to solve a problem that plants have already solved in a much more scalable and affordable manner?’

For the first wave of products at least, it makes sense to include plant proteins in the mix, and not just for cost or scalability reasons, he said.

“We’re borrowing the best of what cell-cultured meat has to offer, which is the mimicry of actual animal based meat, right, combined with the other​ [plant-based] components that require us to build the full finished product. There are multiple plant ingredients that we add and they come in in different stages. But ​[primarily] the plants provide texture… there’s a certain bite that you get as you chew.”

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