Israel-based alt-meat producer Future Meat Technologies is now a step closer towards its goal of bringing its growing array of cell-cultured meat products into the United States.
The company’s most recent series-b funding round yielded a staggering total of approximately $347 million from numerous investors keen on seeing its more sustainable alternatives to meat in a wider market than it currently has. This funding round was led by venture capital firm ADM Ventures and a global technology investor that has, to date, refused to be named.
Scaling Production Up for the Big Time
Future Meat currently produces nearly nature-identical alternatives to beef, chicken, and lamb through cell culture technology. Here, cells harvested from humanely slaughtered livestock (primarily under Jewish kosher and Islamic halal guidelines) are harvested, cultured in vitro, and compounded into products like burger patties, “chicken” nuggets, and steaks.
According to Future Meats CEO Yaakov Nahmias, the investments gleaned during the funding round will be used to build the company’s largest production facility to date. Nahmias said that he and his team are looking into real estate in either Boston or Minneapolis as a potential site for the 13,000-gallon facility.
The success of the funding round is yet another feather in Future Meat’s cap, seeing how it successfully opened the world’s first industrial-grade cell-cultured meat processing facility in June of last year.
The Challenges Looming Ahead
However, getting investments was the easy part of this particular endeavor. Future Meats’ next challenge will revolve around getting regulatory approval from the relevant government agencies in the United States.
Likewise, American vegans have expressed their skepticism regarding the ethical and technical implications involved in the production of cell-cultured meat. This is because the process behind it still involves animal cells. Even the manipulation of such cells, while considered more sustainable in the long run than raising and slaughtering livestock, is still seen as a questionable act.
Indeed, Future Meat’s technical and commercial cooperation choice has been called into question. Last July, Swiss processed foods conglomerate Nestlé announced that it would be rolling out a line of products made with cell-cultured meat under a new brand called Garden Gourmet.
But critics are questioning Nestlé’s suitability as a partner company for an enterprise that prides itself on offering a meat alternative that is both sustainable and ethical. In addition, the conglomerate has come under fire across the globe for its disregard of worker’s rights, child labor, its stance regarding breastfeeding and infant formula, and its involvement in water scandals in North America.