WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Why grow cows in fields when you can just grow the steaks sustainably in a lab? Food is being re-invented …
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After numerous breakthroughs in growing meat from just the cells of animals to produce everything from lab made beef, chicken, duck, fish, and even lion and zebra, Zürich-based startup Mirai Foods has made another breakthrough in the cultivated meat industry. They developed a technique that efficiently cultivates muscle tissue that mimics conventional meat, resulting in what it calls the “world’s first cultivated tenderloin steak,” according to the press release.
While other types of meat can be produced in the lab, the fillet steak is considered a significant challenge because of its complex structure consisting of different cell types. According to Christoph Mayr, CEO and co-founder of Mirai Foods, the technology used for producing this steak is called Fibration Technology, for which they have filed three international patents.
The Future of Food, by keynote speaker Matthew Griffin
The first cultivated tender steak comes from Mirai Foods’ in-house developed bioreactor, “The Rocket.” The process requires long, mature, cultivated muscle fibers, which are combined with enzymes and supplemented with cultivated fat tissue. After five days in the bioreactor, “a tenderloin centerpiece is complete, from which steaks of almost any thickness can be cut.”
According to Suman Das, CSO and co-founder of Mirai Foods, the technology can provide a real alternative to conventional meat, allowing people to prepare and eat authentic steak without harming the climate or animals.
Mirai Foods is one of the few cultivated meat companies in the world capable of producing meat without using genetic engineering, a technology that is heavily restricted in the E.U. The company claims that its meat meets the highest standards of taste, quality, and health while remaining in line with the preferences of European consumers.
The company is building on the industry’s efforts to produce whole cuts of meat through cultivation. While most of the products so far have resembled mince beef for use in burgers and nuggets, BSF Enterprises debuted a whole-cultivated pork loin in 2023, and Japanese researchers have also developed a whole-cut steak from cultured cells.
Mirai’s cultivated meat has already attracted investors, including Angst AG, a food and meat producer based in Zürich. The company plans to bring Mirai’s cultivated meat into its range of offerings once the technology has received regulatory approval. Mirai Foods was launched in 2019 and has raised more than $5 million in funding in a 2021 Seed round.
The company’s achievement is an important step towards sustainable meat production. With the expected doubling of demand for meat by 2050, conventional methods of meat production cannot meet this demand in a sustainable way. Developing sustainable and ethical meat production methods, such as Fibration Technology, can reduce the environmental impact of meat production and provide a real alternative to conventional meat.