US-based eggless mayo producer Hampton Creek has revealed it is developing lab-produced meat and seafood products and is expecting to have a product on the market by the end of next year.
Synthetic meat is a growing area of focus in food technology research, with a number of companies conducting tests.
In March, US business Memphis Meats has announced the development of the “world’s first clean poultry” – lab-grown chicken and duck without the use of animals. It is targeting the launch of its poultry products to consumers in 2021.
“Hampton Creek plans to make its first commercial sale before the end of next year. We’re exploring multiple species but the first sale will likely be in the avian family,” a spokesperson for the company said.
In a statement on LinkedIn, Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick published some details about the technology his firm is employing. Having already worked to develop plant-based ingredients to replace dairy and eggs in vegan-friendly condiments, Hampton Creek is now researching ways to use plants to feed cells in the production of artificial “clean” meat.
“With plants providing nutrients for animal cells to grow, we believe we can produce meat and seafood that is over 10x more efficient than the world’s highest volume slaughterhouse,” Tetrick said in a five-point sustainable food plan that includes accelerating the discovery of new plant-based ingredients and scaling up their application by enabling others to use its discoveries.
In particular, Hampton Creek wants to scale up the production of synthetic meat and seafood by licensing its technology to major food companies. “We’ve started the process of licensing our discoveries to the world’s largest food manufacturers and, in the years ahead, we’ll do the same with the world’s largest meat and seafood companies”, Tetrick said. “Our interest is large-scale, permanent adoption of healthy and sustainable food.”
Hampton Creek, founded by Tetrick in 2011, has become one of the most notable examples of a start-up growing to eat into the market share of some of the established players in its category.
However, in the last year, the company has attracted more negative headlines. Last summer, Tetrick was forced to fend off claims from Hampton Creek employees to support an undercover operation to buy hundreds of jars of flagship product Just Mayo while investors were sought to buy equity in the fledgling firm. The claims prompted regulatory investigations that ended without censure in March.
In recent months, there has been a series of changes among the senior management at Hampton Creek, with some departures coming after an apparent dispute over the company’s corporate governance.
Earlier this month, US retail giant Target decided to pulled all the Hampton Creek products amid concerns over the safety and labelling of the company’s products, including its popular Just Mayo eggless mayonnaise brand. Hampton Creek denied the claims.