FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Mosa Meat’s mission?
Our mission is to revolutionise the way meat is made. Specifically, we’re working to commercialise cultured meat and bring it to the mass market so that we can satisfy growing demand for meat in a sustainable, healthy and animal-friendly way.
What is cultured meat?
Cultured meat (or "clean meat") is the same as conventional meat but, instead of raising and slaughtering a whole animal, we produce the meat by growing animal cells.
Cultured meat isn’t a plant-based substitute. Rather, it's real meat that under the microscope is indistinguishable from meat tissue that comes from a cow, pig or chicken.
why do we need cultured meat?
For two reasons. Cultured meat could solve the coming food crisis, and help combat climate change.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that the demand for meat is going to increase by 70% by 2050, and current production methods are not sustainable. If we want to continue to eat meat, we need a more efficient production method.
Furthermore, livestock contributes significantly to global warming through unchecked releases of methane, a greenhouse gas 20-30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It is projected that cultured meat will generate up to 96% lower greenhouse gas emissions, helping us avoid the disastrous consequences of climate change.
isn't it better to develop plant-based substitutes?
We agree that, if everyone were to adopt a plant-based diet, it would be better as these products are even more sustainable than cultured meat.
However, we are concerned that many people will not want to become vegetarian or vegan, especially given plant-based substitutes will never be exactly the same in taste and texture as meat.
Therefore, we think we need to look at every possible avenue of replacing livestock, including cultured meat.
is it genetically modified?
Producing cultured meat does not involve any genetic modification. As the cells are simply doing what they would do inside the animal, there is no need to modify them in any way. Furthermore, GM foods are banned in much of Europe, where Mosa Meat is based.
What are the biggest challenges to developing cultured meat as a consumer product?
The biggest remaining scientific challenge is developing a replacement for fetal bovine serum (the serum most commonly used in tissue engineering). We cannot use this in future, both because it's incompatible with our animal welfare standards, and also because it’s inherently unsustainable given cultured meat itself will reduce the herd of cows worldwide. So far, we’ve achieved serum-free medium that works, but we still need to optimise it.
Economically, the biggest challenge is scaling up production and bringing the price down to a competitive level. We are working to achieve this within 3-4 years.
what does it taste like?
Like meat! As cultured meat is molecularly the same as livestock meat, it tastes the same.
Will consumers accept it?
A number of surveys have been conducted in various European countries and in the US with a range of results (indicating as few as 20% or as many as 90% of consumers will try cultured meat). Even 20% of the public is an enormous market of first adopters. We are confident that when the product is of high quality and is competitively priced the benefits will appeal widely to consumers.
How much did the first burger cost?
The first burger cost €250,000 to produce. It was funded by Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, who shares our concerns about the environmental and animal welfare impacts of livestock meat production. The burger was this expensive in 2013 because back then we were producing at a very small scale.
What is the current price?
We calculate the current price of a hamburger to be €9 when the process is scaled to industrial size. The cost of a hamburger in the supermarket is around €1, and we estimate that with further efficiency improvements we will be able to bring the price down to that level in the next 5-7 years.
When will it be available to buy?
We are aiming for market introduction in 3-4 years. Like other new technologies, it will be relatively expensive in the beginning, and available at venues such as gourmet restaurants. But within 2-3 years we project it will drop in price so that there will be products on supermarket shelves that are competitive with livestock meat products.
What have you been working on since the first hamburger launch in 2013?
After proving the concept with the first hamburger, we founded Mosa Meat to commercialise cultured meat. So far we have:
1) Improved the protein content of the meat. For example, we optimised the culture conditions of the cells so that they produce myoglobin, which gives meat its red colour.
2) Added fat tissue, which is important for taste and texture.
3) Developed a culture medium that is free of fetal bovine serum (FBS). This is a major step forward to commercialisation given serum comprises 80% of the production cost.
4) Designed a bio-production process that can be scaled to industrial volumes.
What's next for mosa meat?
Looking forward, we are focused on actually scaling production (including the construction of a pilot factory) and on improving efficiencies to bring the price down to a competitive level. We are also working on obtaining regulatory approval for the sale of our products. We are aiming to have our first products on the market by 2021.
Is there any video or photo material available that is free for use?
Yes, we would be delighted for you to use any of the photographs or videos available for download in our press kit.