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  • Writer's picturePhoebe Fraser

Cell-based meat gains financial support globally, Oghma reports

A report by UK corporate finance house Oghma Partners has found that the cell-based meat sector has seen an explosion in interest and deal activity.

Since its emergence in 2010, the cell-based meat category has snowballed. £144.4m was invested in the sector between 2016 and 2019, with £1.77 billion invested during 2020 and 2021. In total Oghma estimates that over £2.6 billion has been invested in the area since 2016.

Uncommon's cell-based bacon
Uncommon's cell-based bacon

The report states that a handful of companies have scooped up the lions-share of funding, with Upside Foods receiving more than $555 million to date, representing 21.5% of total global funding.

In all, the top five cell-based meat manufacturers (Upside, Believer Meats, Wildtype, Aleph Farms and Mosa Meat) account for 46.9% of all funds raised from 2016 to 2023. The report also says that 68% of deal activity is directed toward companies whose activity includes the development and production of cell-based meat. With the remaining activity spread across cell-based seafood at 17%, ingredients at 11% and pet food at 4%.

Currently, cell-based meat can only be sold in two countries, Singapore and the US, where only two companies have received regulatory approval – Good Meat and Upside. Oghma says that approval in the US is a “critical development” given the size of the consumer market.

Bluu Seafood's cell-based salmon
Bluu Seafood's cell-based salmon

The regulatory progress looks promising in other nations, where governments have already shown interest and support for cell-based meats, including government-backed programmes in Israel, the UK, the Netherlands and China.

According to the report, many nations have also set out or are developing frameworks by which companies will gain regulation for sales within the market; mostly through existing ‘novel foods’ frameworks.

Mark Lynch, partner at Oghma Partners, said: “Cell-based agriculture has substantial potential as an alternative to traditional agriculture. We believe that this potential has driven interest and speculative investment into the industry. Significant investment into the cell-based meat industry has led to increasing CAPEX spend with many companies scaling up production capacity and R&D facilities. These investments, some of which are yet to be completed, have the potential to accelerate the launch of products to consumers in the cell-based meat space.”

Ivy Farm's cell-based sausage
Ivy Farm's cell-based sausage

He continued: “However, money for new investment is now harder to come by, as the slowdown in funding so far in 2023 demonstrates. The industry will be challenged to deliver sales to consumers and to stretch funding runways to the point of delivering profitability. We see a shake-out similar to that we are seeing in the plant-based meat sector, with consolidation amongst the players most likely.”

“The US is paving the way for the cell-based meats industry globally with the largest number of investors, and producers. A favourable regulatory environment and ease of business is seeing the US become a hub for industry activity. Multiple overseas companies are looking to relocate or move certain operations to the US. Israel and the UK are the second and third most active countries in terms of the level of funding for cell-based meat start-ups which reflects a combination of the level of innovation going on in their respective food industries/ universities as well as the capital market pool available, combined with a flexible regulatory environment.”


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