Taking a cultivated steak: Thai Union and CJ Cheiljedang seal MOUs with Aleph Farms

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Aleph Farms is planning an initial market launch in 2022, pending regulatory approval.
Aleph Farms is planning an initial market launch in 2022, pending regulatory approval.

Related tags Beef cultivated meat

Asian food giants Thai Union and CJ Cheiljedang have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with Aleph Farms – the cultivated meat company growing steaks directly from animal cells.

As part of these agreements, Thai Union and CJ CheilJedang will help to accelerate Aleph’s scale-up, go-to-market activities and elevate distribution of cultivated meat in existing marketing channels across the APAC region. Aleph Farms previously ammounced a similar deal with Mitsubishi in Japan.

Aleph’s recent $105m Series B funding round was led by L​ Catterton, the largest global consumer-focused private equity firm, and DisruptAD, ADQ’s venture platform, and included participation from Temasek, Singapore’s state investment company.

“We are excited to partner with key players in the Asia market and establish a new category of meat products to address increasing consumption in the region,”​ said Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms. “We carefully consider partnerships that reflect our core values and sustainability commitments, and both Thai Union and CJ share our resolutions for achieving carbon-neutrality and enhancing food security for all people of Asia and around the world."

Singapore became the first country in the world to approve cultivated meat last year, when it gave the green light to Eat Just’s cultivated chicken products.

“We are highly excited to deepen the relationship with Aleph Farms to explore the market potential of alternative beef produced from cultured cells.,”​ said Sze Cotte Tan, CTO of Food R&D at CJ CheilJedang. “We are at the forefront of a trend in Asia food industry as Asian consumers show increasing interest in alternative proteins, and we have the opportunity to lead consumption patterns toward a more sustainable, resilient future that benefits all of Asia and the world.”

Consumption rise

Beef is South East Asia’s second fastest growing meat category, with consumption expected to increase by 16% by 2022. Research from Thai Union and Aleph Farms reveals that 74% of Singaporeans and 97% of Thais are willing to try cultivated meat. In Singapore, a key motivator for trying cultivated meat is the environmental benefits, while in Thailand, diners favour the ability to trace the meat’s origins.

Thai Union says it closely tracking changing consumer demands and the need to find new, sustainable ways to meet increased global protein demands to respond to the growing population of the world.

The company featured in our Growth Asia Interactive Broadcast Series in July​, where it underlined its commitment to plat-based and cultivated products.

Thiraphong Chansiri, President and CEO of Thai Union, said “Following our investment, we are excited to work with Aleph Farms, which is already well known for its technological advancement and strong commitment to sustainability, to further explore collaboration opportunities in Asia.”

Aleph Farms is planning an initial market launch in 2022, pending regulatory approval. 

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