Mewery unveils world's first cell-cultivated pork burger and looks to enter US and Singapore markets
Czech startup, Mewery, has introduced the first-ever burger with cell-cultivated pork – and plans to enter the US market. Uniquely, Mewery’s product combines porcine cells with microalgae cells.
“Our burger tastes delicious, and easily surpasses the taste of traditional plant-based burgers,” said Roman Lauš, Founder (who is also one of +65 speakers at this October's Future of Protein Production LIVE! conference and exhibition.
The burger prototype was introduced during the Rock for People festival, a huge Czech cultural event with 40,000 people attending. Even though a public tasting is not possible in the EU yet, around 90% of the event´s attendees stated they would be interested in tasting the burger right on the spot.
So far, there are only two countries in the world where cell-cultivated meat is approved for sale. The first was Singapore in Asia, followed by the USA. However, US companies Upside Foods and Good Meat are focusing on chicken production. Mewery, therefore, plans to enter the American market with its novel fortified pork products within the next two years.
"We have managed to get the price of the culture medium down to a few dollars per liter, which allows us to gradually increase the testing of our co-culture in larger volumes and to expand our parallel sensory laboratory for the final texture and taste of our products," Lauš said. "We are working with the Czech government on the so-called 'non-employee' tastings, which could be possible as early as next year. This could make the Czech Republic the second country in the EU after the Netherlands to accelerate the introduction of alternative proteins. However, it is still a matter of a few years before legislation is in place at the EU level to allow the sale of cultivated meat to end consumers, so we want to focus on the US and Asian markets first."
Mewery was founded two years ago by serial entrepreneur Lauš. His goal is to produce cultivated pork meat without killing a single animal. In practical terms, it means the replacement of FBS (fetal bovine serum), a component of animal origin commonly used in laboratories. This was the main reason for the startup to develop its own cultivation medium based on microalgae. The medium is used for the co-cultivation of the porcine cell line, derived from the umbilical cord, with microalgae, so no animal is killed during the process. It is this co-cultivation with microalgae that adds previously impossible nutritional value to the final meat.
"Globally, it is the second most demanded type of meat in the world," said Lauš. "In Europe and Asia, it is even the number one meat. Currently, 48 pigs are killed every second around the world, amounting to 1.5 billion animals a year. They produce 14.5% of all emissions, which is even more than all the transport in the world. Our goal is to try to reduce these numbers dramatically."
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