China Is Getting $300M of Lab-Grown Meat From Israel

September 21, 2017

10:50 am

In May 2016, we told you the food industry was the next frontier for the startup world. In January 2017, we predicted synthetic food would finally catch on in a big way. Now, news of a deal China has made for lab-grown meat proves that it really has caught on — to the tune of $300 million.

The trade agreement nets 300 million dollars worth of lab-grown meats imported from Israel to China, and produced by three companies: SuperMeat, Future Meat Technologies, and the punningly titled Meat the Future.

China’s Addressing the Environment

The impetus behind China’s big investment into synthetic meat technologies is its larger plan to cut down its greenhouse gas footprint: An estimated 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emission is due to livestock.

Granted, China’s food market is measured in billions, not millions — Chinese meat imports passed up $10 billion in 2016 — so this deal isn’t as impressive as it might sound in a vacuum. But Bruce Friedrich, head of the meat alternative lobbying The Good Food Institute (GFI), sees it as a sign that the billions are on the way.

“It is a colossal market opportunity,” Friedrich said to Quartz about the deal. “This could put [lab-made] meat onto the radar of Chinese officials who have the capacity to steer billions of dollars into this technology.”

Lab-Grown Meat Looks Like the Future

Back in January, TechCo name-checked synthetic meats, noting the positive response towards the product.

“Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have created meat-style, plant-based burgers that received rave reviews; taking this even further is lab-grown meat. As the reality of the meat industry pervades our consciousness and the effects on the environment can no longer be ignored, more and more people are becoming interested in cruelty-free and sustainable foods. Though it won’t happen in 2017, scientists predict that by 2020 lab-grown meat will hit our stores,” we wrote at the time.

Over the past four years, the price of lab-grown meat has fallen by 99 percent, so we weren’t exactly going out on a limb with our prediction. Hopefully, China’s $300 million deal is just the start for the growing industry.

Read more about food tech at TechCo

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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