Mosa Meat, a spin-off company assembled by academics from Maastricht University, Netherlands, has raised €7.5m (£6.7m) to produce lab-grown meat and aims to bring it to the market by 2021.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), a total of 258 million tonnes of meat was produced in 2013, but that number is expected to rise to 455 million tonnes by 2050. The current ways of animal farming may not be efficient enough to match the large demand for meat in the future and scientists need to find new efficient ways to produce meat.
In 2013, the first lab-grown burger was produced by Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University. It was created by taking stem cells from a dead cow and growing them into strips of muscle that were combined to make a patty. The patty was tasted in London and received positive reviews from a number of food experts. Producing one patty cost a total of £215,000 (funded by Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google) but demonstrated promise as a new method of meat production.
Some of the main funders of Mosa Meat, such as M Ventures and Bell Food Group, will assist the startup to build a pilot production plant for the introduction of the first products in 2021.
Alexander Hoffmann, principal at M Ventures, said: "Replacing traditional meat production with cultured meat would have a huge impact on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, it would free up a large amount of resources that are now used for meat production worldwide and will completely disrupt an old-established and currently unsustainable industry.
"We're incredibly excited to be leading this investment into Mosa Meat, a company at the unique cross-section of food and biotech".
If Mosa Meat is successful, we could see food production completely change in the future.
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