‘Clean Meat’ Startup Backed by Bill Gates, Richard Branson

Hong Kong, the biggest market for Brazilian beef, issued a ban on all meat imports from the country earlier this week

Memphis Meats’ roster of investors continues to grow, as self-replicating ‘clean meat’ progresses toward consumer viability.

Billionaires Gates and Branson are joined by global agricultural giant Cargill Inc. in their quest for an alternative supply for the countless billions of pounds of meat we consume every year in the United States alone.

As previously reported, Memphis Meats uses self-replicating cells to produce actual chicken — without actual chickens. They have now expanded into duck and beef, as well. Along the way, the ambitious startup has collected $17 million toward making the production of this animal-free meat a practical reality.

Branson was effusive when he spoke to Bloomberg, saying that he was “thrilled” to have invested in the project. He believes that within “30 years or so,” traditional slaughterhouses will have become unnecessary relics, because “all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone.”

Millenial demand for organic, sustainable, responsibly-sourced food continues its rise to prominence in grocery store aisles. For that reason, U.S. producers are now focused on discovering tasty alternatives to traditional livestock. According to Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti, it is a global concern:

The world loves to eat meat, and it is core to many of our cultures and traditions. The way conventional meat is produced today creates challenges for the environment, animal welfare and human health. These are problems that everyone wants to solve.

Meanwhile, Cargill Inc. sees the investment as a forward-thinking business move. Cargill Protein President of Growth Ventures Sonya Roberts said:

Our equity position with Memphis Meats gives Cargill entry into the cultured protein market and allows us to work together to further innovate and commercialize. We believe that consumers will continue to crave meat, and we aim to bring it to the table, as sustainably and cost-effectively as we can. Cultured meats and conventionally produced meats will both play a role in meeting that demand.

If you can get around the idea that your steak was grown in a vat rather than a stable, it looks to be a savory vision of our future food supply.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.


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