“We are thrilled to have achieved certification that is binding for the entire European Union. This first is the beginning of our journey involving the production and sale of other forms of cultured meat,” responded the head of Bene Meat Technologies, Roman Kříž.
The Prague startup has been working on the development and technology for the production of cultured meat since 2020, with an eighty-member international team of scientists participating in it. Since its inception, it has had a single investor, the BTL group engaged in the field of medical devices. The domestic success was also noticed by the Reuters agency.
“We got into cultured meat because we don’t know of anything else that would be so beneficial for people, animals and nature. Feed people, don’t have to raise animals in classic farms and kill them, don’t have to plunder agricultural land in pursuit of maximum yields. In addition, biotechnology will be the most important and largest field of human activity in a few decades,” Kříž previously stated for e15 magazine.
The company also claims that it offers an alternative to classic slaughter meat at a “competitive price”. To e15’s question on this matter, the head of strategic projects of BMT, Tomáš Kubeš, responded that the products from their cultured meat “will be at a comparable price level to premium and super premium products on the current pet food market”.
Certification for the production and sale of cultured meat gives hope for a near future in which owners will be able to treat their pets to food with pure protein and a high ethical value – at least from an ecological point of view.
When animal feed containing cultured meat appears on the market depends on the agreement with the manufacturers. According to the company, sample products will be available already at the beginning of 2024, and pet products can realistically be expected in stores in the same year.
Bene MeatTechnologies grows meat in bioreactors, where it starts by adding a few selected cells to a nutrient solution. Such cells have previously been gently harvested from a living animal. After a certain period of time, when the cell is not allowed to be “stressed” – this usually comes from an incorrect ratio of air, nutrients or pH of the solution – it begins to divide and continues to do so until it is “harvested” in the form of a pink mass that resembles minced meat. The cultured meat is then shaped into the desired shape. “We tasted it and it tastes like meat. It resembles a launch myth,” Kříž said earlier for the Czech version of the Wired website.
How to feed the world
People and companies are always looking for the simplest and cheapest way of production. The first artificial beef hamburger appeared in the world back in 2013, and Dutch scientist Mark Post, co-founder of Mosa Meats, was behind it. It took three months and cost $1.2 million to grow 20,000 burger fibers weighing 450 grams in the laboratory. However, the price has come down since then, plus the cells grow exponentially, so converting them to the first hamburger is a bit of a financial dud. Realistically, the price of an artificial burger today is around fifty dollars, but even that is a lot for primary production.
The world is conscientiously preparing for the arrival of artificial meat, whose existence was once predicted by Winston Churchill. In the US, traditional producers are rebelling and refusing to let a laboratory product bear the label meat. Producers of artificial meat then organized a survey, from which a new name should emerge. The name Frankenburger, derived from the horror character Frankenstein, attracted quite a lot of attention.