Nestlé makes move into cultured meat

By John Reynolds on Wednesday 14 July 2021

Nestlé makes move into cultured meat
Image source: Nestlé R&D building/Nestlé

The Swiss giant is joining the likes of Tyson and Cargill in backing the industry, which experts believe could explode in the next few years.

Nestlé has become the latest food giant to endorse the cultured meat market after the world’s biggest food company confirmed it’s working with startups and partners to develop cultured meat and cultured meat ingredients.

Nestlé is joining the likes of Tyson Foods and Cargill which have given financial support to the cultured meat industry.

The Swiss firm has been working on alternative meat products that would blend cultivated meat with plant-based ingredients, according to a report in Bloomberg. 

The report said the meat is being developed with Israeli cell-based startup Future Meat Technologies, which hopes to sell its cell-based chicken, which has yet to be approved, in restaurants in the US within the next 18 months.

Nestlé said in a statement it was working with “several partners” and “startups” including Future Meat to make cultured meat or cultured-meat ingredients.

It added: "Future Meat Technologies' novel and cost-efficient proprietary technology can produce non-GMO cultured-meat components from animal cells, therefore reducing the need for land and resources to raise animals."

Reinhard Behringer, head of the Nestlé Institute of Material Sciences at Nestlé Research, added: "For many years we have been investing in our protein expertise and the development of proprietary technologies for plant-based meat alternatives, allowing us to continuously expand our wide range of tasty and nutritious products with a lower environmental impact.

"To complement these efforts, we’re also exploring technologies that could lead to animal-friendly alternatives that are nutritious, sustainable, and close to meat in terms of taste, flavor, and texture. We are excited to understand their potential."

The move comes amid several players trying to get their cell-based products approved to market, following Eat Just achieving a world-first after its cell-based chicken received approval to be sold in Singapore at the end of last year.

Some forecasts say the cell-based industry could reach as much as 35 per cent of the $1.8 trillion meat market by 2040.

Food giants Tyson and Cargill have invested in the cell-based food industry while the nascent industry has attracted some well-known investors.

The Good Food Institute (GFI) founder and president Bruce Friedrich said the move could be transformative.

He said: “It appears that Nestlé is positioning itself to be the first global food giant to market with a hybrid plant-based and cultivated meat product.

"Nestlé’s involvement at this level could be transformative for the cultivated meat industry and should significantly advance what needs to be a global norm: delivering more sustainable proteins to consumers around the world.

“Nestlé is the world’s biggest food company, so this level of validation sends an unmistakable signal of the huge potential the company sees in the future of the cultivated meat industry. An investment like this from the global food leader could propel the industry forward and mainstream the idea of cultivating real animal meat from cells.

“Nestlé is one of the most well-known brands on the planet, so it is exciting to see the company reimagining meat. When Nestlé talks, the worldwide food industry listens. For Nestlé to see the potential of cultivating real animal meat directly from cells would be a game-changer for the industry.”