MeaTech 3D, an Israeli maker of lab-grown meat products, said this week that it has successfully bio-printed the largest cultivated steak to date, producing a 3.67 oz (104-gram) product made with real muscle and fat cells.
The cells were produced using a proprietary process using bovine stem cells. MeaTech draws the stem cells from animals and reproduces them via a sort of fermentation process in bioreactors, in which it “recreate[s] the conditions within the animal,” Simon Fried, in charge of business development at MeaTech, told The Times of Israel in a previous interview.
This enables the cells to multiply “exponentially,” and they can eventually be used to create cultivated animal tissue and cultivated meat cuts.
MeaTech’s plan is to eventually print beef, poultry, pork and fish products, as well as chicken and goose fat.
In October, a group led by actor Ashton Kutcher announced its intention to invest in MeaTech‘s mission.
The Ness Ziona-based firm was founded in 2018 by Omri Schanin and Sharon Fima, who said in a statement Wednesday that the bio-printing of the new 3.67 oz steak was a “breakthrough” and a “culmination of over one year’s efforts in our cellular biology and high-throughput tissue engineering processes, as well as our precision bioprinting technology.”
“By bioprinting a 3.67 oz steak comprised of living tissue, we believe we have both validated our core technologies and placed ourselves at the forefront of the race to develop high-end, real cell-based cultivated premium meat products,” added Fima.
MeaTech — which is listed on Nasdaq — is one of several Israeli companies developing alternative meat.
In July, Aleph Farms got a $105 million investment, including by US actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, to bring lab-grown steaks to market. Future Meat Technologies, which also makes meat from animal cells, completed a $27 million funding round in February.
These food tech companies play a “substantial role” in the alternative proteins global market, according to a report by The Good Food Institute Israel, a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote research and innovation in the field.
The cultivated meat sector is poised to thrive in coming years when companies transition from the development stage to production, the report said.
There are some 40 companies worldwide racing to be the first to market with cell-based meat products that taste and look like the real thing, and can be affordably mass-produced to meet the massive demand for protein in a world whose population is increasing and becoming wealthier.