Cultured meat and fish: which are the most advanced countries?
It all started, so to speak, in 2013, in the torpor of August, when a certain Mark Post, professor at the University of Maastricht (Netherlands), presented at a press conference that has become historic the very first cultured burger. Since then, his company, Mosa Meat, has grown. The sector, which had 5 companies in 2015, had 107 in 2021, according to the latest report from the Good Food Institute. Leading the race: the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel, followed by Singapore. France remains behind with only two companies: Vital Meat (farmed chicken) and Gourmet (farmed foie gras).
As in any battle, money is the sinews of war: investments, mainly private, reached 1.36 billion dollars in 2021, more than double the cumulative investment previously. Last December, Believer Meats announced the construction of the largest cultured meat plant in the world, in North Carolina, for the amount of 123 million dollars. JBS, the world’s second-largest food company, injected $100 million into cellular agriculture in 2021 and launched Brazil’s first research and development center in the field.
The African continent also entered the dance in 2021 with Sea-Stematic, a South African company specializing in farmed fish. Let us note all the same some public investments: the Netherlands, which wants to become European leader, committed 60 million euros in the sector. The US Department of Agriculture has allocated $10 million for the creation of a National Institute for Cellular Agriculture, and China has included it in the five-year plan for agriculture 2021-2025.
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All this money… for what result? Although Singapore became the first country in September 2021 to issue regulatory marketing authorization, the marketing of products from cellular agriculture remains confined to a few pilot projects. At the end of 2022, the American company Upside Foods received a very first green light from the FDA (the United States Federal Food and Drug Administration), concerning its cultured chicken meat.
To date, no similar application has been filed with its European equivalent.