Richard Branson along with Cargill Inc., one of the largest global agricultural companies, has joined Bill Gates and other business giants to invest in a new technology to make meat from self-producing animal cells amid rising consumer demand for protein that’s less reliant on feed, land, and water.
Memphis Meats, which produces beef, chicken, and duck directly from animal cells without raising and slaughtering livestock or poultry, raised $17 million from investors including Cargill, Gates and billionaire Richard Branson, according to a statement on Tuesday on the San Francisco-based startup’s website. The fundraising round was led by venture-capital firm DFJ, which has previously backed several social-minded retail start-ups such as Tesla, SpaceX, and Skype.
Memphis meats plan to use the monies raised to scale up its production of ‘clean meat’ and reduce the costs to below those of conventionally reared meat.
“We’re going to bring meat to the plate in a more sustainable, affordable and delicious way,” explains Uma Valeti, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats. “The world loves to eat meat, and it is core to many of our cultures and traditions. Meat demand is growing rapidly around the world. We want the world to keep eating what it loves. However, the way conventional meat is produced today creates challenges for the environment, animal welfare, and human health. These are problems that everyone wants to solve, and we can solve them by bringing this incredible group of partners under one tent. This group will help us accelerate our progress significantly.”
When questioned by Bloomberg Branson said, “I’m thrilled to have invested in Memphis Meats, I believe that in 30 years or so we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone.”
What are your thoughts? Will lab grown meat replace the traditional Sunday roast? Are you willing to try it or are we playing God with our food? As always let us know your thoughts in the comments below