Ark Biotech’s plan for price parity in the cell-based meat industry
New assessments from Ark Biotech show how cell-based meat could quickly become competitively priced alongside traditional animal-based meat.
Ark Biotech supplies the cell-based meat industry with industrial-scale bioreactors, operating systems and services to ensure a future in which cell-based meat is widely available and affordable.
The company has recently completed a techno-economic analysis (TEA) of what the cell-based meat industry needs to do to reach price parity. The TEA offers a current perspective on what industrial cell culture has achieved and opportunities for further progress.
Ark Biotech estimates that cell-based meat can reach a price of $29.5/lb with existing commercialised technology and approaches, which it says is cost-competitive with whole cuts like fillet steak and tenderloins, but still 6 times more expensive than ground beef. The company believes that current production limitations are the primary barrier to the widespread adoption of cell-based meat.
It’s TEA demonstrates four ways to bring down the cost of goods sold below the $29.5/lb baseline:
Reduce the cost of media
Improve biomass yields
Optimise the bioprocess
Reduce capital spend – primarily through larger bioreactors
A spokesperson for Ark Biotech told The Cell Base: “The biggest lever to reduce capital expenditure is increasing the size of bioreactors: Larger bioreactors also reduce the cost of goods sold through lower depreciation and reduced labour needs”.
Ark Biotech says it’s TEA is distinct in that it leverages achievements from industrial-cell culture from the pharmaceutical industry to determine a baseline. It models out cost of goods sold for an industrial factory (50,000 MT of annual output) with larger bioreactors (up to 1 million litres), claiming that “most other TEAs are focused on factories with 10,000 MT of production and bioreactors up to 250,000 litres with most focused on less than 25,000 litres”.
In a statement, Ark Biotech said: “At the very least, media costs will need to be reduced, cell growth will need to reach higher densities, bioprocess will need to be optimised, and equipment spend will need to come down. Cultivated meat cost of goods sold can be further reduced through blending cultivated meat with plant-based or fermentation derived ingredients.”
“A great deal of innovation has been made across the cultivated meat ecosystem. With continued focused innovation, especially in the four areas highlighted in this TEA, cultivated meat can achieve price parity. With so much at stake, there’s no time to lose.”