WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Many people query the ethics of using foetal bovine serum to grow lab based meats, but this new synthetic protein not only solves that but will make lab meat cheaper to boot.
Love the Exponential Future? Join our XPotential Community, future proof yourself with courses from XPotential University, read about exponential tech and trends, connect, watch a keynote, or browse my blog.
Japanese engineering giant Hitachi Zosen is set to enter the cellular meat industry by supplying synthetic protein to producers, with plans to commence sales as early as 2025. Something that I’ve been talking about for a long time finally this ground breaking development promises to reduce production costs by an impressive 90% and finally replace the need for incredibly expensive natural proteins extracted from animal foetuses which is the current method. Furthermore, at the new price point, cellular meat like bacon, beef, chicken, duck, tiger, and even salmon and tuna steaks, could very easily undercut the price of meat sourced by culling animals.
The synthetic protein, essential for artificial meat production, will be crafted using a novel technique developed by NUProtein, a Tokushima-based startup in Japan. Hitachi Zosen has also contributed to cost reduction by optimizing a crucial step in the production process.
The Future of Food, by Matthew Griffin
Traditional substitutes for meat are typically derived from plant sources like soybeans or grown from animal cells. However, NUProtein takes a unique approach by combining mRNA extracted from animal DNA with wheat germ to create the synthetic protein.
Creating this protein requires precise blending of ingredients within a wheat germ solution. Leveraging its expertise in crafting machines capable of accurately measuring and adding components for beverages and seasonings, Hitachi Zosen has automated the wheat germ solution preparation process.
The lab-grown meat market is poised for significant growth, projected to reach $25 billion by 2030, according to McKinsey & Co. Notably, in Singapore, a pioneer in cellular meat made from lab-grown chicken meat are currently available for around $13.
Hitachi Zosen aims to commence sales of its synthetic protein to artificial meat producers in Singapore, potentially as early as the fiscal year beginning April 2025. The company also has aspirations to expand this venture to the United States and Japan.
Lab-grown meat made its debut in 2013 with a hamburger patty that took two years to produce at a cost exceeding $300,000. Since then, significant progress has been made, allowing cultured patties to be manufactured for hundreds of dollars. Nevertheless, they remain relatively expensive for the average consumer. Hitachi Zosen and NUProtein’s innovative approach holds the promise of potentially reducing the cost per patty to a more affordable range in the lower double digits.
The emergence of artificial meat is seen as a solution to address food insecurity issues by eliminating the need for livestock farming. Additionally, it has the environmental benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as lab-grown meat production is more efficient and environmentally friendly compared to traditional livestock farming.