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December 20, 2021updated 21 Dec 2021 7:48am

Israel’s Future Meat secures $347m for cultivated-protein development

Venture funding arms of ADM, Tyson Foods and Rich Products were returning investors.

Future Meat Technologies, a cultivated-protein start-up in Israel, has secured US$347m in investment as it prepares to break ground on a US production facility.

Set up in 2018 by Professor Yaakov Nahmias to develop chicken, beef, lamb and pork from animal cells, Future Meat said it rolled out a manufacturing plant in Israel “earlier this year” and is now “scouting” for a site in the US. Tyson Foods, the largest meat packer in the US, and Rich Products Ventures, the financing arm of the similarly named food maker, were returning investors.

The Series B financing adds to the $26.8m won in February, cash the company said then it would use to “scale up its production [and] build its commercial and marketing capabilities” ahead of a planned market launch in 18 months.

Rehovot-based Future Meat said it has reduced the cost of its cultivated chicken breasts to $7.70 a pound (or $1.70 for 110 grams), from $18 “six months ago”. It did not provide an update for the commercial launch. Just Food is clarifying when that might be.

Nahmias said in a statement: “We have consistently demonstrated that our single-cell technology and serum-free media formulations can reach cost parity faster than the market anticipates. We also demonstrated that our proprietary media rejuvenation technology enables cell densities greater than 100 billion cells per litre, translating to production densities 10 times higher than the industrial standard.”

The latest funding, which adds to the $14m in 2019 and $2.2m the prior year, was led by ADM Ventures, the venture-capital arm of Archer Daniels Midland, S2G Ventures in the US and Israel-based pension and insurance firm Menora Mivtachim.

It also included a host of other returning investors as well as Tyson New Ventures and Rich Products. Manta Ray Ventures, a UK-based venture capital firm, and Bits x Bites, the Chinese food and agri-tech investor, also took part. So did ADM Capital and Emerald Technology Ventures in Switzerland.

Nahmias added: “We are incredibly excited by the massive support of our global network of strategic and financial investors. Our singular technology reduced product costs faster than anyone thought possible, paving the way for a massive expansion of operations. Our team will break ground on the first-of-its-kind, large-scale production facility in the United States in 2022.”

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, said during the summer it was exploring cultivated meat as an alternative market and was working with “several” companies and start-ups in the sector, including Future Meat.

Previous investors in Future Meat have included Müller Group, Henry Soesanto, the CEO of Philippines-based food and beverages group Monde Nissin, Neto Group, one of the largest food conglomerates in Israel, New York-based HB Ventures, and Agrinnovation, an Israeli investment fund.

Ian Pinner, senior vice president of strategy and innovation at ADM, said: “We’re excited to expand our relationship with Future Meat and expand the universe of new sources of protein to consumers who are increasingly diversifying their diets.

“Partnerships like these are one of the key ways ADM is creating and capturing new value in growth segments like alternative proteins, and we’re eager to support the Future Meat team in their efforts to continue developing ground breaking solutions that will provide high-quality and scalable cultivated-meat products to consumers in the years to come.”

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