Cultivated Meat

Hi Team, Neat Meatt Biotech is a young start-up working on growing on lab-based or culitvated meat solutions. We have labs in AIC-CCMB campus in Hyderabad and are a team of optimist who are looking to develop end to end technology solutions for growing cultivated meat at an affordable price which can then be out-licensed to companies in India and other low and middle income countries. We are in fund-raising to accelerate our technology development and get a MVP out by Q3 2023.

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Had recently come across this article

Wanted to pick your brains on the following:

  1. How does the nutritional profile of a lab-cultivated chicken compare to that of traditional chicken?
  2. How do you foresee the integration of lab-grown chicken into the existing food industry, and what challenges do you anticipate?
  3. How does the cost of producing lab-grown chicken compare to traditional methods?
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@sourabhNM couple of questions

  1. There are a lot of deep-pocketed startups working on lab-grown meet. How will you be able to take on these folks?

  2. Can you explain the process and compare the carbon footprint to normal meat?

Please find my quick responses to your questions.

  1. The nutritional profile will be similar if not better than traditional chicken. As lab cultivated chicken/meat is grown without antibiotics which are given as both growth enhancers, and for disease prevention to livestock. So would help mitigate the rising cases of Anti-microbial resistance
  2. We see this slowly getting integrated into meat eating industry starting from a more premium end of the market and just as see you a rising proportional of more ‘woke’, ‘liberal’ individuals making sustainable choices. This also helps in our efforts to food security. US is currently grappling with avian influenza where poultry is being culled. Such active disease surveillance does not happen in low and middle income countries
  3. Pound for pound, currently the cost are 8-9x higher than traditional method

Thanks Nithin.
The first question we get asked often and it is appropriate. So far all the R&D and products are being developed in High Income countries such as Singapore, US, Canada, Australia. Those markets have a higher acceptance of price premiums and hence there is a less focus on reducing cost as companies are partnering with Michelin star restaurants to offer the final product as a gastronomic delight. For Neat Meatt we want to develop an affordable technology, very similar to what Indian companies have done successfully for vaccine manufacturing; where the innovation is more on the manufacturing process to have better control on your supply chain and cost of goods. If successful we would like to out-license the technology to companies in low and middle income countries to be able to mitigate climate change.
2. As compared to traditional meat culturing, the difference in carbon footprint is contingent on type of meat so for e.g. reduction in carbon footprint with cultivated meat is highest with beef, goat, sheep, lamb, fish, chicken etc. in descending order. As for cultivated meat you need less water, land, Green house gas emissions etc. Attaching the slide deck shared to provide more details.
20230226_Neat Meatt Overview_vshared.pdf (1.2 MB)

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Hi, I remember satisfying my curiosity about whether plants based meat are actually net Co2 negative or not. And I wrote an essay with detailed math:

I found: 1 Hectare cultivation of leguminous food crops saves 300 litres of Diesel = INR 27,000

And reduce 810KG of CO2 emission. Plant-based meats are net carbon -ve because there is inherent NH3 in leguminous food crops - the plant that is used to manufacture meat.

Is the possible to have similar math (net reduction), I think we all will get to learn a lot. :slight_smile:

Thanks Suman,
Certainly there have been studies done on carbon footprint impact of plant versus cultivated meat. Will try to share, but the other key difference is that you need land, water and time to grow crops. While with the cultivated meat you are compressing the need for land and time. Also some plant such as soya are very water intensive. Taste for plant-based meat is very different to lab-based meat and quite discerning if you are a meat eater; which is similar to traditional meat. So its not plant versus lab-based; but rather plant-based, lab-based meat are few of the tools we have as a multi-pronged strategy to mitigate climate change with traditional agriculture and animal husbandry practices.

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Thanks for sharing. Another aspect missing from this article is that the current fishing practices is resulting in depletion of global fish stocks. Cultivated meat will also help in preserving bio-diversity in our oceans, seas, and rivers. while providing an important source of protein.

I think this is an interesting space, simply because I believe in India nutrition always has been an underrated issue. While I understand people’s religious beliefs are a major factor in their dietary practices. It is also true that Indian diets are almost always lacking in protein and fiber. Meat does offer a good source of nutrition compared to the daily Indian diet. Vegetables consumed raw are good too, but are they healthy when you cook them with oil and spices? I doubt they are.

With lab-grown meat, you have just grown the meat consumer market in India by 10x. People who see ethical concerns, religious sentiments, and health benefits would now all be ready to consume. The idea here is how are you planning on scaling. What would be a great GTM strategy for you. You spoke about licensing. I wouldn’t know the numbers but I would say 70% of the meat market in India is traditional meaning, people go to the butcher. That only caters to the existing market.

How would you make sure a lab-grown meat eater would find your product ?

For example, I live in Surat, that’s a fairly big Indian city, but I don’t find meat in supermarkets here. There are specific shops limited in number which are not super huge chains, like third-party stores of a city-based vendor who sell processed meats. Now they are sourced locally, from farms outside the city, because the Indian cold supply chain and logistics are fragmented. The cost of buying the meat from this store is a premium compared to going to the local traditional butcher.

I bet you scaling in metros in India would be a largely easy process, but do you see a first-mover advantage in this space ? What are your plans for the smaller cities, since I will definitely be a customer?

Do you believe an average Indian customer would pay you 9x/8x more for your meat than the traditional method?

(if I read your reply to a comment above right)

Most of the “woke and liberal” as you mentioned lie within the Gen Z crowd, and in India, the timeline of gaining income for individuals here is higher than in the rest of the world. It’s only around 22+ when most start creating wealth and disposable income. Your target market of “woke and liberal” isn’t yet a the stage where they will be making financial decisions on their set of beliefs.

I worked in a medical manufacturing company in the USA, I do not want to raise eyebrows here but the regulations and enforcement are very tight in those countries which raises the costs of manufacturing and quality control by a lot, and in general business there are very ethical. Indian vaccine manufacturing is different as you would notice a lot of enforcement in regards to QC is non-existent here. You would see Indian pharma create different batches for export quality goods and Indian market goods because they make products Indians consume more inferior. Even with better standards, every year several Indian pharma companies are blacklisted by WHO for providing substandard products that are linked to the deaths of children/people in low-income countries. So basically, we haven’t innovated anything in manufacturing, we have only taken advantage of cheap labor, weak regulations, and lax enforcement of them to produce cheap products like any other middle to low-income country.

Have you identified any potential companies who would be willing to partner with you and adopt your technology? I don’t know any household brands in the Indian meat industry space, I still think it’s a highly unorganized and fragmented industry here. Would it be nice if you conduct surveys, potential customer discovery, and some questionnaires of what the masses feel from all demographics. I know there’s a market for this, but the market research would only help you make better decisions.