Vow’s first cultured meat product near Singapore launches after $49.2 million Series A • TechCrunch

Another cell-based meat company is poised to showcase its meat products in restaurants.

wishTheir first product brand, Morsel, created using cultured meat technology, will be introduced into Singapore restaurants later this year. Singapore is First country to allow the sale of cultured meat productswith Eat Just being one of the first companies to sell lab-grown chickens there.

The milestone comes as the three-year-old Australian company, which claims to be “Australia’s first cell-based meat company,” has raised $49.2 million in a Series A funding round.

Cell-based technology is one of the solutions increasingly used to make meat from animal cells rather than from the animal itself. This is not only to save animals from slaughter, but also to provide a more sustainable method of food production.

George Peppou, co-founder and CEO of Vow, told TechCrunch that scaling and production is the biggest single expense for the company and the driving force for continued funding.

“Before the round, we had a basic product and interested customers,” he said. “We have already built Factory 1 and have everything ready to go into the management process in Singapore, Australia and the US. However, demand is still more than supply. If we can raise the Series A big, we can introduce Morsel to more markets and demonstrate the wide vision of the dish’s form.”

Morsel is a cultured umami quail, and the way chefs are experimenting with this is to include it on the menu, not as quail but as a new type of meat. It’s flavored with grilled umami with a seafood aroma, providing a more unique experience and something you’d expect to see on a fine-dining menu, says Peppou.

Blackbird and Prosperity7 Ventures, a growth fund of Aramco Ventures, co-led Series A and included participation from Toyota Ventures, Square Peg Capital, Grok Ventures, Cavallo Ventures, Peakbridge, Tenacious Ventures, HostPlus Super, NGS Super and Pavilion Capital .

New capital arrived almost two years after Vow took hold $6 million in seed funding. The company is focusing its technology on more exotic meats, like buffalo, kangaroo or alpaca.

At the time, it was also building a design facility and laboratory in Sydney, and in October announced that the facility has been opened. When fully operational, the company says it will produce “30 tons” or 66,100 pounds of farmed meat per year.

But as we have discussed many times in this publication, scale continues to be a challenge for cultured meat producers due to the cost of raw materials and the volume required to achieve price parity with current meat products and the company’s bottom line.

Putting this in perspective, people fear that when the human population reaches nearly 9 billion by 2050, a meat-focused diet won’t provide enough calories to feed everyone. Food giants as well as startups are working together to find ways to produce more food, and plant-based foods have been identified as one of the ways to do that.

Currently, Vow’s Factory 1 is working to produce from one kilogram, or two pounds, and tens of kilograms every few days, says Peppou. He believes the company has a good strategy to achieve greater scale and with the new capital will speed up bringing its Morsel product to market, future product development and recruiting across divisions. new, like products and marketing.

Peppou expects to grow its production team from four to 15 to 20 in the next few months. By the middle of next year, the total number of Vow employees will be around 80 people.

It is also expanding production by starting development of a second plant that the company says will be “100 times larger” than the first.

“Currently, every part of the process has a long way to go before reaching the physical limits of the plant, which is intentional,” he added. “We will continue to experiment with a high margin of error and then gradually ramp up to near full capacity while looking at what Factory 2 needs to look like.”

Mr. Peppou said Singapore and Australia now have separate approval processes for cultured meat products and a clear regulatory framework for that approval. He hopes to be able to bring Morsel to market within a year in both of those countries. However, the US “is a bit more ambiguous because there is no specific regulatory framework, so the timing of the product introduction is not clear,” added Peppou.

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