Omeat announces novel approach for cell-based beef production
Los Angeles-based startup Omeat has revealed its entry into the cell-based meat market, with an approach that reduces input costs and that can be “scaled sustainably” to meet the global demand for beef and other types of animal protein.
Omeat’s process – which has been in development for four years – uses regenerative cells that are extracted “humanely” from living cows to derive growth media, which the company says is the “number one cost driver” of cell-based meat.
Omeat states that the media can cost-effectively grow any kind of meat, such as beef, pork, chicken or fish.
The company’s founder and CEO Ali Khademhosseini shifted his focus from growing human tissues for medical applications to developing a scalable method for growing cell-based meat as he came to understand the challenges presented by conventional animal agriculture practices.
Khademhosseini said: "The approach we uncovered and are currently scaling is a simple and elegant solution that taps into the natural biology of animals to let nature do its work. The result is real meat that's pure, delicious and can satisfy a growing population's demand for meat in a sustainable and humane way."
Omeat sources growth media from its herd of cows that graze freely on its farm in California – the farm is designed with the goal of being carbon negative and employs a number of regenerative practices for soil health, including no tilling, planting cover crops, rotational grazing and natural fertilisation by Omeat's herd.
Omeat worked with an animal-welfare scientist to design its farm and approach to animal care. The work led to the development of processes for collecting plasma, a nutrient fluid that is the source of Omeat's proprietary growth media. The company says its collection practices employ positive reinforcement and are designed to ensure the holistic wellbeing of the animals. The collection happens weekly and as plasma regenerates quickly, it does not deplete the animal.
Khademhosseini added: "With one cow providing plasma weekly, we can create many cows' worth of meat annually. This means we can feed the planet with only a fraction of the current number of animals used in beef production. We see ourselves as a meat company, and our goal is to be a bridge to the future of the meat industry.”
He continued: “We're perfecting a sustainable operation that existing farms and ranches can implement, generating the same volume of product but with a fraction of the overhead. It's way more efficient, and we don't have to sacrifice the cow."
#Omeat says it chose beef as it is the segment with the largest global land and water footprint, in addition to research conducted by Good Food Institute which says that ground beef is the cell-based meat in which consumers expressed the greatest interest.