Cultivated and alternative proteins in the spotlight

Once considered unaffordable for the general public, the costs of processing cultured cells are rapidly decreasing, according to Benjamina Ballag, Superior Steaks Limited founder and CEO.

Speaking at the National Agricultural Management Conference, Ballag told delegates: “We want to achieve price parity in 3 years with companies like TESCO And Morrisonbut getting it exactly like meat will take a little longer.

Three years ago, Just Eat successfully grew chicken meat from cells and chose Esco Aster, a synthetic biology contract manufacturing company based in Singapore, to produce chicken nuggets and breasts as well as shredded chicken. But most governments have not put the emerging industry at the top of their agenda, and previous predictions that the cultured meat market would account for 10% of the global meat market by 2030 currently appear unlikely.

Ballag admitted that one of the problems facing the sector was the reliance on marketing and branding of products when the technology was not fully available and could not deliver the cost or enjoyment sensory.

She said Higher Steaks is focused on getting the technology right. Using cutting-edge cell culture techniques, the company takes a small sample of cells from an animal. The cells are then grown by feeding them a rich, animal-free growth medium. When the cells are grown, scientists guide them to become muscle, fat and other types of tissue currently forming bacon and pork belly.


Dr. Thomas Farrugia, Founder and CEO of Beta Bugs Ltd., told delegates the company aims to provide the missing link in the insect protein supply chain through the development and distribution of black soldier fly (BSF) breeds. Insects such as BSF larvae can be reared at high densities, meaning tons of protein can be produced with a relatively small footprint, reducing the costs of small-scale food rations.

Using a combination of biotechniques and a genetic selection program Roslin Innovation Center, Beta Bugs creates breeds of BSF optimized for industrial needs. These breeds can then be sold to farmers wanting to use the insect protein directly in their food or resold to food manufacturers.

Farrugia highlighted the partnership with Great Dutchman, which has been at the forefront of feeding systems for the poultry and swine industries for almost 100 years, but has now moved into the insect sector. Big Dutchman has modified its solutions to meet the specific needs of insect farms, offering silos for indoor and outdoor use as well as accessories necessary for food storage. Its InsectMixpro provides insects with liquid food, and granulating insect droppings is also on the company’s agenda. Thanks to its drying systems, it can put in place all the management of excrement to establish organic fertilization.

Farrugia said insects could replace soy, but there are still legislative hurdles. At the same time, a consultation led by the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency on the thoughts around the UK’s transitional arrangements for edible insects in Great Britain was welcomed by the International platform for insects intended for human and animal consumption (IPIFF). IPIFF said its members were pleased the UK could adopt a transition period under the EU Novel Foods Regulation for edible insects to enter the market in England, Scotland and Wales.

THE Woven network also welcomed the consultation, saying it was great for continued consumer education: “Being able to fully advertise and educate consumers is a step forward in making the edible insect industry more open . Insects should have a share of the alternative protein market and this policy proposal is another step in that direction.


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