Meiji Holdings Co. has reinvested in US cell-based cocoa start-up California Cultured, after initially investing in 2021.

Financial details were not disclosed.

The Japanese food major “is shifting to a focus on high value-added cocoa and accelerating its global expansion”, according to a statement.

Meiji initially invested an undisclosed amount into the California-based cultured cocoa and coffee maker in November 2021 in an effort to promote its Meiji Cocoa Support (MCS) programme, which was initiated to support cocoa farmers.

“Through our collaborations with California Cultured Inc., we are aiming to establish cocoa cell cultivation technology and build a sustainable cocoa value chain that resolves social issues and eliminates uncertainty in the supply of raw materials,” the Japanese company said.

California Cultured, founded in 2020, extracts samples from a cocoa plant with “the best organoleptic properties” and take cells from them, according to its website.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Then, the cells grow “in large condition-controlled tanks that mimic the conditions of the rainforests in which cacao and coffee thrive.

“After about 3-4 days, our coffee and cocoa cells are ready to be harvested, fermented and roasted.”

The US company is yet to apply for regulatory approval to market its cultured chocolate. However, a Meiji spokesperson told Just Food that California Cultured is planning to obtain a GRAS (Generally Recognised as Safe) certification from the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on its own.

Just Food has contacted California Cultured for comment on the investment.

In December, Meiji announced plans to invest Y48bn ($331m) in the construction of a new domestic dairy production facility in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido.

The yet-to-be-named site will replace the “deteriorating facilities” at Meiji’s Nishi Shunbetsu and Honbetsu plants and allow for more “stable provision of dairy products”.

For the nine months ended 31 December 2023, Meiji’s net sales rose 4.4% to Y833bn from Y798bn a year earlier.

It has forecast a 26.5% drop in attributable profit to Y51bn, earnings per share of Y182.69 and a 3.4% increase in revenue to Y1.1tn for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2024.