Ashdod-based food-tech start-up Aleph Farms has successfully grown the world’s first “cell-grown minute steak,” the company said on Wednesday.
Grown from a few cells extracted painlessly from a living cow - complete with the “full experience of meat” including the appearance, shape and texture of beef cuts – the production of a slaughter-free steak has long been considered a revolution in the global meat industry. The company says the product will not be commercially available for at least two years. “We’re shaping the future of the meat industry – literally,” said Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms.“Making a patty or a sausage from cells cultured outside the animal is challenging enough, imagine how difficult it is to create a whole muscle steak. At Aleph Farms, this is not science fiction. We’ve transformed the vision into reality by growing a steak under controlled conditions.”Once cells are extracted from the animal, they must be nourished and grown to produce a complex matrix replicating muscle tissue. The company partnered with Haifa’s Technion–Israel Institute of Technology to overcome a key barrier and enable various cell types to interact with each other to build a complete tissue structure as they would in the natural environment.“The initial products are still relatively thin, but the technology we developed marks a true breakthrough and a great leap forward in producing a cell-grown steak,” said Toubia.
Aleph Farms said it has combined six unique technologies enabling the company to lower the production costs of the meat, including innovative approaches related to an animal-free growth medium to nourish the cells and bioreactors – the tanks in which the meat tissue grows.Cultured meat also reduces the high cost of devoting vast stretches of land, water, feed, antibiotics and other resources typically associated with traditional agriculture.“Aleph Farms’ minute steak is thinly sliced and will cook in just a minute or so,” said Amir Ilan, chef of restaurant Paris Texas in Ramat Gan.“For me, it is a great experience to eat meat that has the look and feel of beef but has been grown without antibiotics and causes no harm to animals or the environment.“Aleph Farms meat has high culinary potential – it can be readily incorporated into top-shelf preparations or served in premium-casual restaurants, trendy cafes, bistros, or other eateries.”Co-founded by Israeli food-tech incubator The Kitchen, part of Strauss Group, and the Technion in 2017, Aleph Farms is supported by both American and European venture capital firms. The company joined the European Institute of Innovation and Technology Food’s prestigious RisingFoodStars start-up program in July.