Cargill touts investment in ‘cultured meat’

Global giant says lab-grown beef will ‘complement’ its meat business

Cargill has bought a share of a company that claims it is “leading the slaughter-free meat revolution for a healthier world.”

The Minneapolis company, one of the world’s largest beef processors, says it is investing in Aleph Farms, an Israeli startup that said in December it successfully created steak by using cultured bovine cells.

“Aleph Farms grows meat directly from beef cells using a 3D tissue engineering platform,” Cargill said in a news release.

The company said it made the investment because global demand for protein will grow by 70 per cent over the next three decades.

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“Consumer demand for protein continues to be very strong,” said Sonya Roberts, managing director of growth ventures and strategic pricing for Cargill Protein North America. “That means there’s an opportunity for plant and cultured protein growth to complement our traditional animal protein portfolio.”

On its website, Aleph Farms says its lab-grown meat has the same taste and texture as real beef, but “without the antibiotics, environmental footprint, contamination, and animal slaughter which comes with conventional meat production.”

A company video shows a chef preparing thin slices of its product and declares, “Finally, meat you can enjoy that’s good for your health and the planet.”

In its news release, Cargill noted it has previously invested in another cultured meat company, Memphis Meats, while adding lab-grown meat is a small portion of its business. But the company has “a responsibility to look at all innovations that can help us feed the world, said Jon Nash, president of Cargill Protein North America.

However, Cargill’s “commitment to investing in animal protein remains unwavering,” Nash added.

“We believe in the power of protein and the critical role animal protein will continue to play in nourishing the world for the long term,” he said.

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