Transforming food production through cultivated meat

Sculpture of a horse at Roslin Tech

Reflections on the opportunity that the Transforming Food Production (TFP) Series A Investor partnership programme offers for research into cultivated meat.

What is cultivated meat?

Cultivated meat is like traditional meat, except instead of an animal reared on a farm, the cells are grown in a lab. At Roslin Tech, through our novel technologies, we produce induced pluripotent stem cell lines. These are cells that can be turned into any animal cell type, including muscle and fat cells for cultivated meat production.

Fat cells produced from one of Roslin Tech's pig induced pluripotent stem cell lines

Fat cells produced from one of Roslin Tech’s pig induced pluripotent stem cell lines. Credit: Roslin Tech

Producing cultivated meat can be challenging, especially regarding the longevity of cell lines and their abilities to differentiate into a wide range of cell types. At Roslin Tech, we are one of the first provider of cell lines for the cultivated meat sector. We have a unique capability that we believe will benefit all producers and the industry as a whole to reach mass consumer markets faster and cheaper.

The cultivated meat industry

The traditional meat industry is large: it was valued at $1.3 trillion by the end of 2020. This means that the cultivated meat sector has a huge capacity for growth into this space if it can compete on price and consumer experience with traditional meat.

Roslin Tech lab technician

Laboratory at Roslin Tech. Credit: Roslin Tech

Several industry analysts project the cultivated meat market to be between $25 billion to $100 billion by 2030. Cellular agriculture is innovating and growing quickly and having the right cells is essential, and that is where we can contribute to the sector.

We are grateful to the TFP programme and our investors for supporting us in our growth phase to help address the sector’s increasing demand with robust cell lines and a widened target species portfolio.

Transforming the future of the food chain

We are delighted to have been awarded just over £1 million partially-funded through this programme, which will support us in scaling up and expanding the cell lines we offer to the cultivated meat industry. It will also help Roslin Tech continue to offer a solution better than the current standard.

The TFP award will allow us to further optimise the pig cell lines we currently have on offer to the sector. It will also help us develop new ruminant species lines and assess the main factors that impact cell growth, thus supporting media development and scale-up.

Jointly backed by public funding through UKRI and investors, we have seen a considerable increase in awareness and interest for cultivated meat over the last few years. Globally, governments and other backers have realised the potential for cultivated meat. It offers a new way to produce meat that is sustainable and helps to reduce the increasing protein gap as our population expands.

Roslin Tech laboratory

Laboratory at Roslin Tech. Credit: Roslin Tech

Cultivated meat production has a considerably lower environmental impact than its traditional counterparts in both climate change impact and land use. At Roslin Tech, we aim to exemplify sustainability in our outputs, including:

  • zero hunger (goal 2)
  • responsible consumption and production
    (goal 12)
  • climate action (goal 13).

We aim to be leaders in the sector accelerating action towards the climate change goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Transforming Food Production Series A Investor Partnership programme is delivered by Innovate UK.

Find out more about Roslin Tech’s work in the cultivated meat industry on our website.

Top image:  Credit: Roslin Tech

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