A new company formed at Oxford University has launched plans to bring the first laboratory-grown sausages to UK supermarket shelves by 2023.
Ivy Farm Technologies, an Oxford University spin-out, plans to become the UK’s first commercial producer of sustainable, cultured meat.
Co-founder Russ Tucker said Ivy Farm planned to make the UK known in emerging global industries by producing cultured meat products – starting with a slaughter-free sausage – for supermarkets and the restaurant trade from 2023.
The company has launched a £ 16 million fundraiser to build a pilot research and development facility. This is the first step towards producing 12,000 tons of pork per year by 2025 – the equivalent of saving the lives of 170,000 pigs.
The meat and dairy industries account for an estimated 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions – more than all of the world’s transportation systems combined.
However, the demand for meat is expected to grow another 70 percent as the world population grows to nearly 10 billion by 2050.
Dr. Tucker said, “If you look at the world around us, the way we currently produce and consume food is not sustainable.
“Almost half of the world’s harvest is used to feed cattle, and that will only increase.” Cultured meat is the silver bullet – through the latest technology we can deliver real, high quality meat and save the planet at the same time. “
“Ivy Farm is great for the environment, great for meat lovers, and great for animals as there is no slaughter.”
Ivy Farm’s process is based on technology developed at Oxford University in the same building where the Covid-19 vaccine was developed.
A small number of cells are taken from an animal and placed in a bioreactor. The cells are exposed to a mixture of vitamins and nutrients so that they can multiply and produce meat in just three to four weeks. The system is continuous – so muscle and fat can be gained without disturbing the cells growing underneath.
The company is already in talks with the Food Standards Agency, which must approve cultured meat before it can go on sale in the UK.
Rich Dillon, managing director of Ivy Farm, said the company also plans to speak to regulators in other parts of the world.
Singapore was the first country in the world to approve the sale of cultured meat in December. Experts believe that cultured meat could make up 35 percent of all meat consumed by 2040.
Mr Dillon said, “Make no mistake, cultured meat is here to stay. It’s a compelling statement – real meat, with no guilt.
“Singapore has approved cultured meat and in Israel Benjamin Netanyahu wants the country to become a“ powerhouse ”for alternative meat. China is also investing large amounts in industry.
“We believe our technology is some of the best in the world and that we can fly the flag of Great Britain.”