Dutch cultivated meat startup Meatable has raised a $35m Series B to scale and accelerate the commercial launch of its sausage and pork dumpling products.
Meatable, which uses pig stem cells to produce its products, plans to launch in Singapore in 2024. Singapore and the US are the only two countries where cultivated meat has been approved for sale.
The round was led by previous backer Agronomics, a VC firm focused on cellular agriculture, and $17m was contributed from a new investor, Invest-NL, a Dutch state-funded impact firm.
Additional funding comes from existing investors such as BlueYard, Bridford Group, MilkyWay, DSM Venturing and Wise founder Taavet Hinrikus.
The raise brings Meatable’s total funding to $95m, after a $47m Series A in March 2021. According to Dealroom data, this round makes it the second best-funded cultivated meat company in Europe, after another Dutch startup, Mosa Meat, which is working on beef products.
What is cultivated meat?
Founded in 2018, Meatable’s production process requires just “one cell from an unharmed pig”, says Caroline Wilschut, director of commerce and strategy at Meatable. The cell is then put into a bioreactor and fed glucose and amino acids to produce real muscle. The products that Meatable feeds to the cells are not derived from animals.
The process replicates the traditional growth of a pig, but takes only eight days — 30 times faster than rearing a pig for pork on a farm, according to the company.
Cultivated meat is seen as offering significant environmental advantages to conventional meat, with potential land use and emissions savings reaching over 90% by some estimates.
However, cultivated meat still isn't price competitive with conventional meat, one of the hurdles to adoption if it's able to be sold more widely. One of Meatable’s aims with this funding round is to try and reduce production costs.
Meatable is filing dossiers to the Singapore Food Agency for approval to take its products to market in selected restaurants and retailers. It is partnering with Esco Aster, the only commercially licensed cultivated meat manufacturer in Singapore, to begin commercial production and with Love Handle, a plant-based butcher, to develop its product range.
After Singapore, the company wants to launch in the US, says Wilschut.
What about the EU?
EU legislation restricts the sale of cultivated meat products, meaning European cultivated meat startups have to travel further afield to launch their products. “Europe is unfortunately lagging behind. I wish it was different, but we expect that European approval will take a couple of years”, Wilschut says.
That said, within Europe, the Netherlands has emerged as an early leader in encouraging cultivated meat innovation. Earlier this year, the Netherlands became the first EU country to allow pre-approval tastings of food grown directly from animal cells, in an agreement between the Dutch government, Meatable and Mosa Meat. These tastings are necessary for startups to get feedback on the taste and quality of their products from chefs, distributors and potential partners before they're launched.
It follows the Dutch government committing €60m towards cellular agriculture to become a global hub for the technology.