Israel-based start-up Aleph Farms has produced ‘the first’ cell-grown minute steak , claiming that the ‘slaughter-free steak’ replicates the appearance, shape, and texture of conventional beef cuts.
Co-founded in 2017 by food-tech incubator The Kitchen and Technion, Aleph Farms has developed a method which allows it to develop natural beef cells isolated from a cow into a fully 3-D structure similar to conventional meat.
Cell-grown meat is produced from a few cells of a living animal, which are extracted painlessly. Aleph Farms claims that the product obtains the texture, structure, flavour and shape of beef muscle tissue steak, without the need to devote vast stretches of land, water, feed, and other resources to raise cattle for meat.
The start-up claims that one of the barriers to cell-grown meat production has been getting the various cell types to interact with each other, in order to build a complete tissue structure as they naturally would inside the animal.
Aleph Farms was able to surmount this challenge thanks to a bio-engineering platform developed in collaboration with the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms said: “We’re shaping the future of the meat industry — literally.
“Making a patty or a sausage from cells cultured outside the animal is challenging enough, imagine how difficult it is to create a whole-muscle steak.
“We’ve transformed the vision into reality by growing a steak under controlled conditions. The initial products are still relatively thin, but the technology we developed marks a true breakthrough and a great leap forward in producing a cell-grown steak.”
Cell-grown meat is seen a relatively cruelty-free method of producing meat, and is generating interest within the meat industry as more consumers are changing their consumption habits in the face of growing environmental and ethical concerns.
For example, US meat giant Tyson Foods has invested in a number of cultured meat producers over the course of the year, including a $2.2 million investment in Israel-based biotechnology company Future Meat Technologies, and a further investment in US-based food tech start-up Memphis Meats.
Tyson also backed prominent meat alternative company Beyond Meat, the producer of the plant-based Beyond Burger, as part of a $55 million funding round in December 2017.
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