For cultivated meat companies, 2022 will be remembered as a year in which we navigated the evolving environment of consumers and investors and a truly diverse global regulatory landscape. It’s safe to say that last year saw some of the biggest developments to date in cultivated meat.
But what’s next on the agenda? Here are my predictions for how the cultivated meat industry will change and develop in 2023.
The world is growing and so is our demand for protein. With an estimated 9.9 billion people on the planet by 2050, global meat consumption is set to nearly double over the next 30 years. Yet this ever-growing meat consumption is the leading cause of deforestation – the average Western person consumes over 1,000 animals in their lifetime, contributing to 30% of terrestrial biodiversity loss and 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
As a result, I think 2023 will bring greater acceptance of the need to diversify approaches to meat production, including where and how it can be produced. Alternative proteins such as cultivated meat will gain increasing acceptance as an approach to food security, from consumers to food industry pioneers such as chefs. Studies by the likes of independent research company CE Delft have found that cultivated meat may cause up to 93% less air pollution, use up to 95% less land and 78% less water. I believe conserving these resources will be essential if we are to feed everyone on the planet.
Upside Foods’ positive pre-market consultation with the FDA was a milestone moment for the entire cultivated meat industry in 2022, proving its safety and alignment with government goals. This followed the announcement of the recent Biden directive in which the government has underpinned its support to using biotechnology and biomanufacturing for cultivated meat.
In the past year, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have also made moves to implement a regulatory framework for future commercial product approvals, which means we’re likely to see further regulatory approvals in the near future. In fact, China recently announced a significant commitment to transforming the country’s food production system into a greener and more sustainable enterprise, with cultivated meat at the heart of the country’s 5-Year Agricultural Plan. This will continue further in 2023 and I hope that Europe will soon follow suit.
The cultivated meat industry will really ramp up in 2023 – pushing towards growth and commercialisation. The cultivated meat market alone is expected to grow to $25 billion by 2030 which will help enable a new industry to grow to support cultivated meat producers, including suppliers of media components, bioreactors, and other equipment needed to produce cultivated meat.
In an industry as fast-moving as this one, we’re also going to see a lot of collaboration happen as well among all these companies. It’s evident in Cellular Agriculture Europe – a coalition of businesses focusing on cultivated products from meat to seafood in Europe – which we’re delighted to be a part of. I’m proud that Meatable as a business collaborates with other cultivated product producers, finding common ground and speaking with a shared voice for the good of the industry, consumers, and regulators. For the industry to grow successfully, this is necessary into 2023 and beyond.
From consumers to regulators, people are beginning to open up to the idea of hybrid meat. This is the term given to products involving either traditional or cultivated meat combined with plant-based material. In particular, hybrid cultivated meat products are quickly becoming an accepted way to engage consumers and educate them about cultivated meat in a way they understand and can connect with.
Last year, we began to see some cultivated meat companies choose hybrid cultivated meat to reach consumers faster and lower costs. At Meatable, we’re developing hybrid cultivated meat in Singapore in partnership with Love Handle. I expect we will see more cultivated product companies developing hybrid products in 2023, and it’s likely to be one of the ways to drive greater awareness of cultivated meat this year.
More cultivated meat products will be offered as alternatives to traditional meats in 2023. For instance, pork is one of the most widely eaten meats in the world and there are endless different products and variations you can create. Germany alone consumes 27% of the world’s total number of sausages annually (which amounts to around 2.4 billion kg a year) whilst pork consumption in Asia hit 3.4 million tonnes in 2022.
At Meatable, we want to provide products that will have a global impact, as that’s where we’ll see the biggest reduction in demand for traditional agriculture and the biggest reduction in the carbon emissions that come with that, like sausages.
Meanwhile, we were recently part of a consortium that won a €1 million grant for R&D into ELPs or elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs). We believe ELPs have the potential to create the scaffolds necessary for developing cultivated meat. We hope to use the results of the research to create whole cuts – this could be steaks or even tenderloins, with pork loin particularly popular in the US. We predict that more companies will expand their product development ranges to cover the whole spectrum of meat to attract future customers.
If there is one thing that is certain, it’s that 2023 will be another year of exciting change. For the cultivated meat industry, that means continuing to find innovative ways to combine technology and human ingenuity to make cultivated meat an everyday reality for people and the planet. This is necessary if we are to preserve the planet for future generations – by reducing the impact the meat industry currently has on the planet, and providing delicious products that people can enjoy, without harm. Together we can build a sustainable, healthier planet for 2023 and beyond
Tue 23 May 2023
Meatable has reached a major milestone in the company’s history: our technology can now create cultivated pork products in eight days, thanks to its unique and superior differentiation process.
Thu 11 May 2023
Meatable held its first-ever cultivated meat tasting in Singapore with future commercial partners and the Singapore Economic Development Board. The company received approval from the Singapore Food Agency for this first tasting, an important step towards receiving regulatory approval for sale of its cultivated meat. With this milestone, Meatable is on track to launch into the Singaporean market in 2024, followed by the US.