Nestlé has confirmed it is exploring the possibility of developing cell-cultured meat products.
An earlier report suggested the world’s largest food business was working with Israeli cell-based meat start-up Future Meat Technologies to develop hybrid products – combining meat cultivated in a lab with plant-based ingredients.
In a statement, Nestle said: “To understand the potential of future meat alternatives, Nestlé is closely monitoring scientific trends and exploring emerging technologies. The company is evaluating innovative technologies to produce cultured meat or cultured-meat ingredients with several external partners and start-ups. Such novel technologies can lead to more environmentally-friendly products.
“For example, scientists at Nestlé Research in Lausanne are working with Future Meat Technologies, a leading cultured-meat start-up, to explore the potential of cultured-meat components that do not compromise on taste or sustainability. Future Meat Technologies’ novel and cost-efficient proprietary technology can produce non-GMO cultured-meat components from animal cells, therefore reducing the need for land and resources to raise animals.”
Major food companies including Tyson Foods, Brazil’s BRF, Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. and seafood giant Thai Union Group have given their backing to the emerging cell-based meat industry by way of investment but have not so far been directly linked with product development.
Reinhard Behringer, head of the Nestlé Institute of Material Sciences at Nestlé Research, added: “For many years we have been investing in our protein expertise and the development of proprietary technologies for plant-based meat alternatives, allowing us to continuously expand our wide range of tasty and nutritious products with a lower environmental impact.
“To complement these efforts, we’re also exploring technologies that could lead to animal-friendly alternatives that are nutritious, sustainable and close to meat in terms of taste, flavour and texture. We are excited to understand their potential.”
Last month, Future Meat announced it had opened what it described as the world’s first industrial cultured meat facility, with the capability to produce 500kg of cultured products a day, equivalent to 5,000 hamburgers.