Meat giant brings Aleph Farms laboratory meat to Brazil
This week the food company BRF, S.A. – one of the largest meat suppliers in the world – signed a contract with the Israel-based cultured meat company Aleph Farms to bring his innovative laboratory meat to Brazil. As part of the Memorandum of Understanding agreement, BRF will jointly develop and produce laboratory-grown meat on one of Aleph Farms’ BioFarm platforms. While traditional animal husbandry requires many inputs and produces large amounts of greenhouse gases, Aleph Farms’ approach relies on a small number of animal cells grown in a bioreactor to produce meat without the need to slaughter animals and with a much lesser ecological value Footprint.
“BRF is ready and mandated to play a leading role in this food revolution and actively participate in one of the greatest industry transformations of this generation,” said Lorival Luz, CEO of BRF. “Since 2014, we have seen increasing global demand for new sources of protein driven by multiple factors, namely environmental issues, new diets and lifestyles, which has fueled the growth of new dietary genres such as flexitarianism, vegetarianism and more.”
Growing meat for the future
Aleph Farms introduced its first cultured steak in 2018 and has since expanded and adapted it to be suitable for large-scale production. In 2019, Aleph Farms grew its cell-based steak on the International Space Station out of orbit to show that the technology can create food sources with very limited natural resources such as land and water. Last month, the company unveiled a 3D printed ribeye culture steak that builds on Aleph Farms’ original cell-based steak and offers the same sensory experience as a thicker piece of meat one could get at a butcher’s shop. The company is currently transferring its first commercial product to its first BioFarm, a pilot production facility scheduled to start in 2022.
One of the biggest hurdles for the market introduction of the new meat technology is the official approval. In December 2020, Singapore became the first country in the world to approve the sale of laboratory-grown meat. Other regions are expected to follow. In meat-rich Brazil, the deal between Aleph Farms and BRF will prove monumental once the country grants regulatory approval for laboratory-grown meat. “We are delighted to be working with BRF, a global leader in the food and meat industry. This new partnership expands Aleph Farms’ strategy to integrate with the existing ecosystem as part of our go-to-market plans, ”said Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms. “Leveraging the expertise and infrastructure of leading food and meat companies will lead to a faster growth of cultured meat and ultimately to a wider positive impact. As one of the largest beef producers in the world, Brazil is a strategic market for us. We were impressed by the strong commitment of the BRF management to innovation and sustainability. We are convinced that shared values are the key to a successful long-term partnership. ”
Combating the climate crisis with cultured meat
BRF currently has 30 brands in its portfolio, many of which make hot dogs, ham and chicken nuggets from traditionally reared animals, and had sales of $ 7.25 billion last year. BRF will distribute Aleph Farms’ cultured meat as part of its vision strategy for 2030 to invest in greener practices while increasing sales to $ 18.5 billion by 2030. The partnership is also in line with Brazil’s broader climate goals, which have pledged to reduce total meat net greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent by 2030.
“This is another step that strengthens BRF’s innovative way of offering consumers a choice of alternatives, optimizing efficiency and at the same time relieving the production chain,” said Sergio Pinto, Director of Innovation at BRF. “We are a food company that invests in advanced technology, respecting and combining new trends related to social and environmental sustainability. By producing high quality, sustainably cultured meat, we can further expand our role as transformation agents in the food industry by offering the latest innovations in meat production. “