Development and Prospects of the Global and China Cultivated Meat Industry

Amidst a global food crisis, Josh TetrickDavid Welch, Caio Malufe, and other agri-food industry thought leaders joined policymakers from China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs online to discuss food security and the prospects of cultivated meat in China and around the world.

Protein innovation is taking the world by storm as the newest form of food production – one that is secure and sustainable. Yet in China, cultivated meat is still nascent and the commercial ecosystem gradually emerging. Providing the industry with better infrastructure and expertise at this critical stage will accelerate its development and bring China and global food supply chains closer to net zero.

To this end, Agfood Future Center of Excellence, along with policymakers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), hosted this discussion on protein innovation: the commercialization, development, opportunities, and challenges of cultivated meat from an international perspective. The event boasted an impressive lineup including Deputy Director of China’s Institute of Food and Nutrition Development under MARA, Wang Xiaohong, Chairman of Agfood Future Center of Excellence, Ryan Xue, Vice Chair Jennifer LeeBill Westman, former Senior VP of the North American Meat Association, Alternative Protein Strategy and Business Development Global Lead for Cargill, Jane LeeJosh Tetrick, Co-Founder and CEO of Eat Just, Steve Lin, Managing Partner of C2 Capital Partners, Caio Malufe, Head of Strategy at Orbillion Bio, Co-Founder of Dao Foods, Tao Zhang and David Welch, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder at Synthesis Capital. Also joining were representatives from several prestigious research institutions and nearly 100 attendees who tuned in.

As co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, the world’s first cultivated meat company approved for sale, Josh Tetrick said, “People used to talk about cultivated meat as something out of science fiction, but now it’s commercialized and sold in Singapore. Cultivated meat uses 80% less land and water than traditional meat farming, reducing emissions. [Regarding price], the three drivers of cost reduction are large-scale vessels, media cost, and cell density. China has an important role in leading the industry in building infrastructure and regulation, and I hope to be a part of this process.”

Deputy Director Wang Xiaohong agreed that “The localization of cultivated meat is itself a way of carbon reduction,” pointing out that China is ideal for innovation since “Chinese people are highly receptive to new things.” Steve Lin of C2 Capital Partners, a key investment partner of Eat Just, echoed this sentiment. He added, “China is the world’s second-largest protein consumer with strong demand. By the first half of 2020, the year-on-year increase [of online purchases of plant-based meat] was more than 150%. In the future, the younger generation in China will have increasingly open attitudes towards alternative proteins.” From his overview of protein innovation trends, David Welch also stated China’s opportunity to be a major player moving forward, especially in terms of product categories and flavors for cultivated meat.

In their closing remarks, both Agfood Future Center of Excellence Chairman Ryan Xue and Vice Chair Jennifer Lee spoke on the industry’s role in food security. “Agriculture has many more implications than just climate; it affects feeding the world and a circular economy,” Lee said. “As far as China is concerned,” Xue explained, “the agricultural food sector has an extremely significant impact on the national economy and social stability. Providing a safe, secure, nutritious food supply, especially of high-quality protein, is a task facing all companies, governments, and institutions focused on sustainable development. Agfood Future is working for solutions through integrating projects, technologies, markets, and policies surrounding protein innovation. Our goal? The sustainable transformation of the food system, a fast-track to net zero.”

A platform for international collaboration, Agfood Future is a nonprofit that connects 400+ of the world’s leading organizations around the common goal of agri-food sustainability for food system transformation in China and throughout global supply chains.

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SOURCE: Agfood Future Center of Excellence

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