Doubling up: Cultivated meat firm GOOD Meat reveals plans for two more plants – exclusive CEO interview
Its CEO Josh Tetrick said the current output for his firm is in the “tens of thousands of pounds annually” in weight. But with the additional plants, GOOD Meat could achieve “millions of pounds annually” as it hopes to make cultivated meat the most consumed meat around the world.
He shared his ambitions with FoodNavigator-Asia.com in an interview days before the ground-breaking ceremony of possibly Asia’s largest cultivated meat facility in Singapore on June 10.
“I want to make cultured meat the most consumed meat before I fade away. Singapore is the hub in this region. We have solved the fundamental design and engineering challenges. The next step eventually is to build a second, larger-scale facility in Singapore and start exporting.
“Conventional and cultivated chicken taste the same, but people can feel better about what they’re eating. Younger people under 25 think that it is awesome their meat is made in a bioreactor. They find it really exciting that you can make meat without killing an animal in this giant stainless steel vessel.
“The whole point is to try to get to a world where the majority of meat consumed doesn’t require the slaughter of an animal. People will eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he visualised.
Breaking new ground
On June 10, GOOD Meat organised a ground-breaking ceremony in Bedok Food City, located at 1550 Bedok North Avenue 4 (eastern Singapore), to build what is believed to be the largest cultivated meat facility in Asia.
The dedicated 30,000 square foot (2,787 square metres, or almost half the standard English Premier League soccer pitch) facility would help meet growing consumer demand for its products since it was introduced to the island.
The facility will house a 6,000-litre bioreactor, the single-largest bioreactor in the cultivated meat industry, manufactured by global biotech leader ABEC. It will be managed by 50 researchers, scientists and engineers and scheduled to operate in Q1 2023.
The firm started retailing bites and shredded cultivated meat in Singapore in December 2020 after receiving the nod from the local authority, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), the previous month. According to Tetrick, the approval process took more than a year as microbiological data had to be analysed first.
Consumers in Singapore can purchase GOOD Meat from various channels, such as the famous Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice, delivery platform Foodpanda, 1880 and Madame Fan. The firm recently partnered with a Michelin-guide eatery Keng Eng Kee to serve cultured chicken satay.
Back in the US, he is also scouring for a second site. The first facility is in Alameda county, East Bay, California, and currently undergoing construction. It is expected to commence operations in Q4 2022.
“Singapore is a model for us. It is the inflexion point that started this whole thing and continues to be the energy that is moving us and the industry,” he said.
Science and development
GOOD Meat is the cultivated meat division of Eat Just, Inc., a foodtech company that strives to create sustainable food. For the cultivated chicken, the firm utilises cells isolated from the egg.
In late May, GOOD Meat signed an exclusive multi-year agreement with ABEC to design, manufacture, install and commission the largest-known bioreactors for avian and mammalian cell culture. Under the agreement, 10 units of 250,000-litre bioreactors will be operated in the US. It could produce up to 30 million pounds (13m kilogrammes) of meat when fully operational.
It also partnered with ADM, which will help GOOD Meat optimise the nutrients needed to enable the growth of the cells used for cultivated meat.
Concluding the interview, Tetrick shared that GOOD Meat plans to submit its application for cultivated beef before the end of the year to SFA. Once approved, the firm will start with a ground beef product. Subsequently, it will attempt to enter China. In January, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs included cultivated meat and “future food” in its official plan for the first time.
“Think about all these things that wake people up, like COVID-19 and the Malaysian chicken export ban. These are present, not future, issues that people need to worry about. Cultivated meat addresses all of these. I feel like we need to make a lot more chicken because there’s demand all across the board,” he said.
GOOD Meat’s Director of Operations Aaron Yeo is a keynote speaker at our Growth Asia Summit in Singapore this October. Find out how to attend here.