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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Nestlé entering lab-grown meat market – Toronto Sun

Author of the article:

Denette Wilford

Photo by Nestle

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The world’s largest food company is looking to enter the lab-grown meat market.

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Nestlé has a net worth of $270 billion, with the majority of its earnings coming from its powdered and liquid beverages (think coffee, bottled water, dairy and Nestea, among others).

But the Swiss company is ready to jump into the lab-grown meat business.

“For many years we have been investing in our protein expertise and the development of proprietary technologies for plant-based meat alternatives, allowing us to continuously expand our wide range of tasty and nutritious products with a lower environmental impact,” Reinhard Behringer, head of the Nestlé Institute of Material Sciences at Nestlé Research, said in a statement.

“To complement these efforts, we’re also exploring technologies that could lead to animal-friendly alternatives that are nutritious, sustainable, and close to meat in terms of taste, flavour, and texture. We are excited to understand their potential.”

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People are increasingly looking to reduce or eliminate animal products from their diets, which has led to the rise in plant-based meat and dairy options.

But is lab-grown meat the way to go for a proper, healthy diet?

Personal trainer Jack Craig, with Inside Bodybuilding, works with athletes who rely on meat-based sources of protein in their diets, so meat grown in a lab is important for people in his industry to consider.

“The reason we focus on meat-based proteins in fitness is because they are normally one of the most concentrated forms of protein. That means that most of the calories come from protein,” said Craig. “Since athletes need a lot of protein to support muscle growth, meat-based sources are important.”

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Craig has a few concerns regarding lab-grown meat.

“Right now, plant-based meat alternatives are essentially glorified processed foods. They’re often not sources of pure protein the way meat is,” he said, explaining some options are incredibly high in sodium, fat and carbohydrates.

“When it comes to advising others to eat lab-grown meat, I want to make sure that the nutritional information, and the ratio between proteins, carbohydrates and fat is what I’d expect from a chicken breast or steak.”

Craig added that few plant-based meat alternatives are “primarily protein” and tend to be gluten- or soy-based, which isn’t ideal for those with allergies or intolerances, so he’s eager to see if Nestlé’s lab-grown meat alternative “overcomes some of the existing problems with plant-based.”

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The Swiss company has been working on alternative meat products that would blend cultured meat with plant-based ingredients, people “familiar with the deliberations” told Bloomberg while requesting anonymity.

They added that the meat is being developed with Israeli startup Future Meat Technologies Ltd., and its entry into the market would be determined by regulatory approvals.

Future Meats founder and Chief Scientific Officer Yaakov Nahmias developed a bioreactor technique to drastically reduce the cost of production making it more marketable.

There’s also the environmental impact, as only a room full of machines would be needed – no grazing fields or huge water needs.

“This collaboration marks an important step in the field, which is poised to transform the market, securing the future of coming generations,” Nahmias said in a statement.

Bruce Friedrich, founder and president of alternative proteins industry group The Good Food Institute, issued a statement that Nestlé and Future Meats’ partnership could be revolutionary.

“When Nestlé talks, the worldwide food industry listens,” he said. “For Nestlé to see the potential of cultivating real animal meat directly from cells would be a game changer for the industry.”

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