Singapore approves sale of lab-grown meat

Hi-tech cultured meat products cleared for sale for the first time, as interest in alternative meat market grows apace

Singapore has approved the sale of lab-grown chicken meat by US start-up Eat Just, making it the world’s first regulatory approval for so-called clean or cultured meat. The meat − which is claimed to not derive from slaughtered animals, but rather uses many of the same tissue engineering techniques used in regenerative medicine − will be sold as nuggets and be priced at premium chicken prices.

Eat Just co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick said the meat will first launched in a Singaporean restaurant “in the very near term”. 

Demand for meat alternatives is growing due to concerns over health, animal welfare and the environment; Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Quorn are just some of the brands that are increasingly featuring on supermarket shelves and restaurant menus.

Singapore, a city-state with a population approaching six million, currently only produces about 10 per cent of its food, but has set out plans to increase that over the next decade by supporting hi-tech farming and new means of food production. The Singapore Food Agency said it had reviewed data relating to process, manufacturing control and safety testing before granting approval.

Eat Just said it will manufacture the product in Singapore, where it also plans to start making a mung bean-based egg substitute which has already been selling commercially in the US. Founded in 2011, Eat Just has raised more than $300m in years that following years ed and is now valued at roughly $1.2bn.

Globally, more than two dozen firms are testing lab-grown fish, beef and chicken, hoping to break into the alternative meat market, which Barclays estimates could be worth $140bn (£105bn, 116bn) by 2029.

Singapore’s Shiok Meats is another company hoping to break into the market with aims to become the first company to sell lab-grown shrimp. It is backed by Henry Soesanto of Philippine-based Monde Nissin Corp, which also owns Quorn.


FURTHER READING: McDonald's to launch plant-based meat range

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