Solving the big issue. The most important 5 Startups in synthetic food
When I work these days in IT, I still have always an eye for agriculture innovations. We all have still a big problem because we have traditional thinking.
For thousand years we put seeds to earth, hope for rain and good harvest. We domesticated animals. Both of this we did by bred beyond recognition. Nature is not anymore an environment in which we live, but a convenient function of the population.
And instead of real disruption from the old habits, we just automate and optimise the production of our food. Soon no body needs to live on countryside, because all is done by robots there. Welcome to the city then, where the life is!
So, I was interested to have a look to the real disruptive ideas. It is not a news, that Bill Gates next to Richard Branson invests into "synthetic food production". Let's put all emotions aside and have together a closer look:
State of synthetic food production
For my surprise I didn't find startups or developments to have a synthetic replacement for carbs. For all the crops that we need to produce flour – to bake all kind of crusty and non-crusty bread. I do believe here is still a niche and a big unaddressed pain point. Just in regards to all the water and surface we need, instead having CO2 eating forest with Population in high diversity. I will research further.
Ok, so we talk about synthetic burger production…
The idea is simple… Take some living cells of an animal and put it into a “friendly” but artificial environment. Then feed with a substrate and engage the cells to multiply.
If you do this on a simple way, the best result will be Burger pellets, cause if you look closer, a steak not only consist from one biomass, but is full of structure, small veins, fat-streams etc.
Supermeat.com gets supported by even German investors promising exactly this. And it seems ju.st (Just Egg) goes now with Just Chicken the same way.
Possibly you heard of memphismeats.com. They secured financing from Bill Gates, Richard Branson und Cargill, as also Tyson New Ventures (Tyson Foods) und Threshold. mosameat.com got well-funded too and under the investors was even Merck.
Outstanding seems in the moment aleph-farms.com. Because here the synthetic grown structures are more complex. Aleph Farms combine various cell types to compose meat. Next to the cell types they also make sure the meat gets a good 3D texture.
The claim is amazing. Instead of 2 years, tons of water and food – including killing a living being, the meat of Aleph Farms grows up within 3 weeks.
But maybe sushi too!
finlessfoods.com is about to use very similar principle, but focus to fish, more exactly bluefin tuna as starting point.
We should understand and keep in mind, that also these cells don’t grow from nothing. Two things are needed. Electricity and a mostly plant-based substrate where all the ingredients exist, that are needed by the cells to grow.
Interesting is to mention, that we do not talk here from gene manipulated stuff! The cells are taken (assumed) from totally normal results of the genetic game from the evolution. Cows, Chicken, Ducks, Fishes.
So, when count all together we see a hopeful picture:
There is no harmed animals. Very clean and controlled growth environments.And such environments make it possible to exclude various possible sicknesses.Far less or zero medicine like antibiotics needed.Much less water and land needed.Constant quality and supply chain are possible.
I just wonder about the amount and source of the mostly plant-based substrate. This will be a key resource then. I imagine it will be much less than an animal consumes. But somewhere it has to produced and processed too in a highest quality.