Meatable, the innovative Dutch food tech company that is on a mission to deliver cultivated meat at scale, has announced a partnership with plant-based butcher Love Handle to establish the Future of Meat innovation center in Singapore. With a shared vision to create products to satisfy the world’s growing demand for meat without harming the environment, the two will collaborate on developing hybrid meat products – using both cultivated meat and plant-based materials – in Singapore to serve the global market.
Meatable was founded in the Netherlands in 2018 with the aim to produce cultivated meat that looks like, tastes like and has the nutritional profile of traditional meat. Love Handle is Asia’s first plant-based butcher, established in 2020. Its innovative products include pastrami made from jackfruit, chicken breast, chicken satay, beef steak and sausages. As well as running its own butcher and deli, Love Handle also powers an e-commerce platform and B2B sales.
Krijn de Nood, co-founder and CEO of Meatable, said: “We’re delighted to announce this partnership with Love Handle to build the world’s first innovation center for hybrid cultivated meat products. Ken Kuguru and the Love Handle team are the number one specialists in plant-based meat and have built an incredible business focusing on transforming perceptions of alternative proteins. Not only are they the best partner to help us develop an excellent hybrid product because of this extensive knowledge, but they also share our vision to satisfy the world’s growing appetite for meat without harming the environment, animals or people. Together we’re going to spearhead the development of hybrid products for the Singapore and global markets and help foster innovation among other alternative protein producers. This is all part of our commitment to create the new natural – meat without harm.”
Fast-tracking the development of cultivated meat
As leaders in their respective fields, Meatable and Love Handle are coming together to create the world’s first Future of Meat innovation center to serve consumer demand for harm-free meat. With an aim to launch the center in 2023, the two companies will jointly invest around $6 million and employ up to 10 people locally. Together they will collaborate on developing hybrid cultivated meat, while other plant-based protein startups and scaleups will be able to use the center to develop and optimize their own products to drive forward innovation in alternative proteins. The partnership was brought together by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), a government organization tasked with supporting Singapore’s position as a leading innovation center.
The partnership marks an expansion in Meatable’s strategy to help bring cultivated meat to the market faster. Its new hybrid products will be developed with a cultivated meat-led approach, which uses plant-based protein to optimize the properties of cultivated meat. By optimizing Meatable’s cultivated meat with a special plant-based recipe developed in partnership with Love Handle, rather than the other way around. Meatable expects to deliver completely new hybrid products that are indistinguishable from traditional meat. They will retain the familiar bite, taste, and texture integral to the eating experience.
Together Meatable and Love Handle will commercialise the hybrid products with the expectation to have a range of hybrid meat products including dumplings, pulled pork, pork belly, meatballs, cold cuts and patties which will be available in local restaurants first in 2024 and supermarkets in 2025.
Investing in Singapore
The partnership with Love Handle is the next step in Meatable’s expansion in Singapore. The country was the first to approve cultivated meat in 2020 as part of its 30 by 30 strategy, which aims to build up its agri-food industry’s capability and capacity by producing 30% of its nutritional needs locally and sustainably by 2030. Last month, Meatable announced its partnership with CMDO ESCO Aster, the first and only global production facility with regulatory approval to produce cultivated meat, to produce Meatable’s cultivated pork products in Singapore. This partnership, along with the innovation centre with Love Handle, are part of Meatable’s wider plans in Singapore, which will invest over €60m and employ more than 50 people over the next five years. With these steps, Meatable has fully localized its supply chain so the country can become more resilient and enable greater food security for the future.
As well, the Future of Meat innovation center will be open to other plant-based players to help them commercialize their products. In the meantime, Meatable is working closely with Singaporean food regulators to ensure its cultivated pork products meet regulatory requirements as it gears up for production.
Driving innovation in the food industry
Meatable is committed to investing in products and countries to enable the growth of cultivated meat, in what is predicted to become a $25 billion industry by 2030. In the future, Meatable believes cultivated meat will be available on supermarket shelves and in restaurants along with plant-based products to enable consumers to have the best choice possible, with a minimal impact on the environment and animals.
Caroline Wilschut, Director Commerce & Strategy of Meatable, said: “We know that taste is the key distinguisher for consumers when it comes to eating meat. By combining our expertise in cultivated meat with the proficiency Love Handle has developed in plant-based meat, we can bring something truly new and innovative to the market. Singapore is paving the way forward for a new path for countries to think about topics like food security and innovation. We’re excited to be a part of this dynamic ecosystem and create new products that serve the world’s growing appetite for meat.”
Ken Kuguru, co-founder and CEO of Love Handle, said: “This is a really exciting moment for Love Handle. As Asia’s first plant-based butcher, we’re creating products and services so that people no longer need to make a choice between delicious meat and being kind to the planet. The new innovation center we’re setting up with Meatable will help us develop new hybrid and plant-based meat products as well as provide a space for existing plant-based players to further drive innovation in the food industry. We’re looking forward to working closely with Meatable and for consumers to be able to try these new and exciting products as early as next year.”
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