Israeli startup aims to make synthetic chicken meat

Money is pouring in for a crowdfunding campaign launched by Israeli startup tech firm SuperMeat that could see chicken meat grown in a laboratory.

The campaign, launched earlier this week, has received more than two-thirds of its US$100,000 (£74,000) fund-raising goal, enabling SuperMeat to demonstrate consumer interest to key investors.

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The company believes it will ultimately need US$2.5m (£1.8m) to bring the finished product to the retail market but hopes to do so by 2021.

In the meantime, it plans to produce the first ever cultured chicken meat within the next two years.

It wants to design devices that produce poultrymeat on demand, which could ultimately be placed at grocery stores, restaurants and even consumer’s homes.

Its interest in synthetic meat was sparked by the production of the first cultured burger by scientists at Maastricht University, Holland, which was eaten amid a blaze of publicity in London in August 2013.

That team, led by Mark Post and Peter Verstrate of Mosa Meat, hope to have a viable product on sale to consumers by 2020.

Yaakov Nahmias, SuperMeat co-founder and director of the Alexander Grass Centre of Bioengineering at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: “Our technology allows us to expand cells isolated from a small tissue biopsy taken without hurting the animals.

“We organise the cells into miniscule tissue and place them in a unique environment to mimic animal physiology.

“This allows the small tissue to organically grow into large muscle like in nature,” he added.

The company says the technological solution will allow cost-efficient meat production, free of animal serum and will open the door an affordable and sustainable source of human food.

‘Better future for our children’

SuperMeat adds the process will help end the intensive farming of poultry and have an extremely low-carbon footprint.

Koby Barak, SuperMeat chief executive officer, said: “We founded SuperMeat to revolutionise the food industry and promote an animal-free humane solution to world hunger and environmental degradation that will secure a better future for our children.

“Our team is comprised of a diverse group of advocates, scientists, health professional and environmentalists, coming together to create an incredible and truly ground-breaking device that will grow real, tasty meat, with zero animal suffering and reach the market within five years.”

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