Hybrid plant-based and cultivated meat product from Nestlé could be “transformative”

15-Jul-2021 - USA

The Good Food Institute Founder and President Bruce Friedrich says that Nestlé S.A.’s work to bring a hybrid plant-based and cultivated meat product to market could be transformative for the alternative protein industry and the global food system. 

Photo by sina piryae on Unsplash

“It appears that Nestlé is positioning itself to be the first global food giant to market with a hybrid plant-based and cultivated meat product. Nestlé’s involvement at this level could be transformative for the cultivated meat industry and should significantly advance what needs to be a global norm: delivering more sustainable proteins to consumers around the world,” said Friedrich. 

“Nestlé is the world’s biggest food company, so this level of validation sends an unmistakable signal of the huge potential the company sees in the future of the cultivated meat industry. An investment like this from the global food leader could propel the industry forward and mainstream the idea of cultivating real animal meat from cells,” he said.

“Nestlé is one of the most well-known brands on the planet, so it is exciting to see the company reimagining meat. When Nestlé talks, the worldwide food industry listens. For Nestlé to see the potential of cultivating real animal meat directly from cells would be a game-changer for the industry.”

Nestlé Israel CEO Avi Ben Assayag recently told Israeli business magazine Globes: “We must reinvent the future of nutrition. We can’t go on with the slaughtering and milking of cows. […] If we don’t create a science-based industrial agriculture revolution, we won’t be able to feed the world.”

GFI’s Cultivated Meat State of the Industry report shows that 2020 was a record year, with 23 new cultivated meat companies launching for a total of 76 companies globally—up 43% from 2019. Cultivated meat companies received more than $360 million in investments in 2020, which is six times the amount raised in 2019. 

Recent studies show that—compared with conventional beef—meat cultivated directly from cells may cause up to 92% less global warming and 93% less air pollution and use up to 95% less land and 78% less water.

Despite these positive developments, public funding remains critical. Global governments invest more than $30 billion every year into renewable energy research and development but have not yet meaningfully prioritized climate-essential methods of producing protein. Cultivated meat will remain just a fraction of the overall market for conventional meat unless governments invest in alternative proteins as they’ve done for other climate-friendly innovations. 

“Globally, we need a protein transition if we’re going to move the world to net-zero emissions,” said Friedrich. “We need both the public and private sector to go all-in on making meat from plants and cultivating meat from cells. Governments must invest in these innovations now to slash the climate impact of our food system and stand a chance of moving the world to net-zero emissions by 2050.”

GFI is advocating for $2b in U.S. federal funds to be directed toward alternative protein research to address this shortfall and shore up U.S. leadership in the sector. 

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