Caroline Wilschut, 16th November 2022

Building the world’s first Future of Meat Innovation Center in Singapore with Love Handle to power hybrid meat development

The cultivated meat industry is predicted to grow to $25 billion by 2030. At the moment the most developed infrastructure and regulatory environment for our industry is in Singapore. With its 30 by 30 strategy – a commitment to producing 30% of its foods domestically by 2030 – Singapore is a global leader in thinking thoughtfully and innovatively about topics such as food security and climate change.

This is why we are delighted to deliver on our roadmap by expanding in Singapore and to reveal that we will be building a brand new Future of Meat innovation center in partnership with Asia’s first plant-based butcher Love Handle. The company creates delicious and truly innovative products to sell at their in-house butcher and deli and crucially they wholeheartedly share our mission to satisfy the world’s growing appetite for meat without causing harm. The partnership was brought together by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), a government agency supporting the alternative protein sectors through innovation.

The center is a world-first – the only innovation center globally dedicated to developing and innovating world-class hybrid cultivated and plant-based protein products.

Why hybrid?
From the start, our vision has been to create a world where there is an alternative to traditional meat. We realize that for consumers taste, texture and overall experience are crucial factors when it comes to eating meat. And therefore we set out to create cultivated meat that is indistinguishable in taste, bite and experience, but without the drawbacks caused by the meat industry, that can be enjoyed by all consumers in restaurants and served at home.

The road to developing cultivated meat is long, as the industry is creating a completely new technology. We have been heavily investing in R&D, developing production methods that will enable us to create meat at scale, and partnering with organizations like the CMDO ESCO Aster, the first and only global production facility with regulatory approval to produce cultivated meat, to help us scale our process even faster.

The last step in our R&D process is food application, where a highly experienced team is dedicated to developing delicious end products. This team is developing a hybrid product, using cultivated meat combined with plant-based ingredients which, with the right recipe and ingredients, is indistinguishable in taste and texture when compared to traditional meat. Our new hybrid products will be developed with a cultivated meat-led approach, which uses plant-based protein to optimize the properties of cultivated meat.

Developing hybrid products in Singapore
Hybrid cultivated meat products are a key milestone as part of our mission to develop cultivated meat for everyone, and an important step on this road as they will enable us to reach the wider market faster. This will help to educate people, drive awareness of cultivated meat and change perceptions about the meat industry. Attitudes are changing, one survey last year found that up to 80% of people are open to trying cultured meat, but products have been scarce. When a wide group of people is able to actually see and taste cultivated meat products themselves, we believe this will transform the meat industry for good.

Our expertise is in cultivated meat so in order to develop the best hybrid products experience with plant-based protein, we needed the right partner. Love Handle was established in 2020 as Asia’s first plant-based butcher. From the first time we met the team and tasted their products, we were convinced that they were the perfect partner to collaborate with. Love Handle has created a range of the most innovative plant-based products we have ever tasted, and crucially shares our vision about the future of meat.

We view our collaboration with Love Handle as the most strategic way to achieve speed-to-market and satisfy our mission of making harm-free meat a mainstream reality for consumers. By optimizing our cultivated meat properties with a special plant-based recipe together, our hybrid products will retain the familiar bite, taste, and texture that people love and enjoy, with cultivated meat grown from only one animal cell combined with complementary plant-based materials. And by sharing Love Handle’s distribution network, including its in-house butcher, deli, e-commerce platform, and established network of restaurants, hotels, and retailers, we will be able to bring these products to the wider market at high speed.

We are expecting our first hybrid pork products to be available in restaurants in 2024, with retail and additional channels following in 2025. It’s exciting to be bringing something truly new and innovative to the market, and we’re delighted to be doing it with a partner that shares our vision.

We’re continuing to develop full cultivated meat products, including beef and whole cuts, but we believe getting our hybrid products to market faster will enable us to spread awareness and education about cultivated meat, ahead of launching full cultivated meat products later.

Investing in Singapore
We’re dedicated to investing in operations in Singapore as we believe in localizing our value chain and contributing to the community we are part of. Over the next five years, we plan to invest over €60 million and employ more than 50 people in Singapore. Through this, we are supporting the country’s aim to become more resilient and enable greater food security.

The Future of Meat innovation center is part of this strategy. The center features a food-innovation kitchen and lab, an experience center for hosting customer and consumer tastings so that people can taste the delicious products for themselves, offices, and a retail space for consumers to buy products to try in-store and at home, with the capacity for small-scale production. The center will employ approximately 10 people in the first few years and will house some of the best machinery to drive next-level innovation in hybrid meat and plant-based products, like high-moisture extrusion and emulsification equipment and industrial texture and taste analyzers. We will also share the expertise we develop in the Future of Food innovation center with other local alternative-protein players, to help them develop and commercialize new products.

Now that more countries like the US and the Netherlands are taking steps towards regulating cultivated meat, there is much to be learned from Singapore and how to implement a forward-thinking approach to this novel food. We’re delighted to be part of this innovative food ecosystem and use our experiences in Singapore to develop cultivated meat for the world, as and when we’re able to. All this takes us one step closer to our mission to produce real, tasty meat without harming people, animals or the planet and we’re excited to be working closely with our partners like Love Handle to achieve this. 

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