Cultured and bioprinted meat has seen a decade of progress.


Diving into the world of 3D bioprinted cultivated meat is like embarking on a thrilling journey where science fiction meets culinary innovation. The convergence of biotechnology, food science, and engineering has created a dynamic landscape that has the potential to revolutionize the future of food. In the past five years, this pioneering industry has achieved significant milestones, shaping its trajectory and capturing the imagination of the world.

The concept of lab-grown meat has been around for decades, with Dutch researcher Willem van Eelen securing a patent for producing meat in labs as far back as the 1990s. However, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the world witnessed the unveiling of the first lab-grown burger by Dr. Mark Post from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. These early pioneers laid the groundwork for the intersection of 3D printing and cultured meat, setting the stage for the future.

One of the earliest startups to combine biotechnology with 3D printing was Modern Meadow, founded in 2011. While initially focused on creating lab-grown leather, the company later explored the possibilities of producing meat. Though their primary focus shifted towards leather, their early initiative ignited the spark for future startups. In the mid-to-late 2010s, numerous startups emerged, including Memphis Meats (now Upside Foods), Eat Just, Finless Foods, and Wild Type in the US, and Aleph Farms, SuperMeat, MeaTech (now Steakholder Foods), and Future Meat Technologies (now Believer Meats) in Israel. Dutch Mosa Meat, renowned for producing the world’s first lab-grown burger, and Singapore’s Shiok Meats also remain at the forefront of this exciting field.

The transition from concept to reality gained momentum in 2018 when investments and financial support poured into the production of lab-grown meat. This boosted the development of intricate 3D bioprinted meat structures, with Aleph Farms even announcing the creation of a lab-grown steak. Passionate venture capitalists fueled these initiatives, with companies such as Upside Foods, BlueNalu, and SuperMeat securing significant funding rounds.

However, as with any newly emerging industry, challenges began to surface. Regulatory hurdles, public skepticism, and the need to upscale production without compromising quality posed significant obstacles for these startups. Despite these challenges, peer-reviewed articles started shedding light on the progress being made in the field, while conferences and events began dedicating discussions and segments to cellular agriculture and 3D bioprinting.

In 2020, countries like the US, European Union (EU), Singapore, Israel, UK, Australia, and Canada started developing guidelines and regulations for lab-grown meat. Singapore stood out as the first country to approve the sale of cultured chicken, marking a significant milestone in the industry. Exciting progress was also being made in labs around the world, with top universities like Harvard and MIT making significant strides in creating the edible structures needed for 3D printed meat.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, investment in this new food tech continued to flow. Big investors and celebrities recognized the potential of lab-grown meat and put their money behind the future of food. In 2021, Singapore made history yet again by becoming the first country to approve the sale of lab-grown meat, even though it wasn’t 3D bioprinted. Several companies ventured into public taste tests for their 3D bioprinted meat products, with most receiving favorable reviews. Aleph Farms stood out by successfully replicating the taste and texture of conventional beef in their lab-grown steak. Spain’s NovaMeat and Israel’s Redefine Meat also made waves with their plant-based meat alternatives produced through 3D printing.

Companies like Steakholder Foods and Eat Just pushed the boundaries further by focusing on 3D bioprinted meat and gaining regulatory approval for their innovative products. Meanwhile, Mosa Meat continued to receive positive recognition for their groundbreaking achievement of creating the first lab-grown burger.

The future of 3D bioprinted cultivated meat is bright, with immense potential for transforming the way we produce and consume food. As technology advances and more players enter the market, the landscape will continue to evolve, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world of food innovation. With continued investment, research, and consumer acceptance, lab-grown meat may soon become a staple on dinner plates around the world.

Redefine Meat’s Meat Matrix Additive Manufacturing technology for whole cut production has revolutionized the global conversation surrounding lab-grown and 3D bioprinted meats. As the demand for alternative protein sources continues to rise, countries around the world are addressing the regulation and scalability of these innovative products.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) have taken a joint approach to explore regulatory frameworks. Meanwhile, the European Union has turned to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for guidance. Israel, known as a hub for cellular agriculture startups, has shown a strong interest in establishing regulatory frameworks of its own. Post-Brexit countries like the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are also engaged in discussions regarding their regulatory landscapes.

The industry has seen an increase in partnerships, with global giants such as Cargill and Tyson Foods investing in lab-grown meat startups. Mosa Meat has teamed up with Nutreco, and Eat Just has formed a partnership in Singapore. Nestlé is also exploring potential collaborations in the lab-grown meat sector. These partnerships aim to reduce costs and address the challenges associated with scaling up production.

In a significant development, Upside Foods from California received recognition from the FDA for its cultivated meat, marking a positive trend in regulatory acceptance. Although not a full approval, this recognition demonstrates that progress is being made in the industry.

In 2023, the agri-food tech sector experienced further advancements. GOOD Meat, Eat Just’s cultivated meat division, received FDA approval for its lab-grown chicken, following rigorous evaluations. The product is set to be featured in renowned chef José Andrés’s restaurants in Washington, DC, pending USDA endorsements. Europe has also made strides, with the Netherlands becoming the first EU nation to allow taste tests of cultivated meat products before market approval. Collaborations with key players like Meatable and HollandBIO have played a crucial role in this progress. The Dutch government has also allocated €60 million from its National Growth Fund to strengthen the country’s cellular agriculture sector.

However, the environmental impact of lab-grown meat has raised concerns. Research conducted by the University of California, Davis, suggests that current and near-term production methods of lab-grown meat may have a significantly higher environmental impact than retail beef. This finding highlights the importance of ongoing research and development to address these challenges.

In other achievements, Germany-based The Cultivated B is seeking EFSA certification for its cultured sausage. If successful, this certification would set industry standards in food safety and innovation, paving the way for other startups. The future of seafood is also being reimagined through innovative alternatives. Maruha Nichiro in Japan has collaborated with Umami Bioworks in Singapore to develop cell-cultivated seafood in Asia. Steakholder Foods has secured a grant to develop 3D printed cultured seafood. Similarly, Revo Foods and Mycorena have received significant European backing to 3D print mycoprotein as a viable seafood substitute.

With these developments in the cultured meat sectors, it is clear that the landscape of food production is undergoing a major transformation. This shift presents both opportunities and challenges for the global food industry. As the industry continues to evolve, it is essential to stay up-to-date on the latest news and advancements in 3D printing technology.

Original source


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