Swiss Mirai Foods Develops the “First Thick Cultivated Steak” with Non-GM Beef Cells – vegconomist
So far in 2023, the progress of cultivated meat in Europe seems unstoppable. At the beginning of this month, UK’s biotech company 3DBT announced what it calls the world’s first truly cultivated steak. Soon after, the Czech food tech Mewery claimed the first cultivated prototype grown with pork and microalgae cells.
“Demand for meat is expected to double by 2050; conventional methods of meat production cannot meet this demand at all“
Today, the Swiss cultivated meat startup Mirai Foods announces what it claims to be the “first thick cultivated steak” developed using its proprietary fibration technology platform that allows efficient tissue cultivation without chemical manipulation and using “exclusively” not genetically manipulated cells.
The ultimate challenge
Founded in 2019 in Zurich, Mirai’s 20-person team works to produce cultivated meat by multiplying muscle and fat cells without using genetic engineering to address European consumer preferences. The startup focuses on premium beef, which has the most significant environmental footprint of all meats.
Christoph Mayr, CEO and co-founder of Mirai Foods, said: “A fillet steak is the ultimate challenge: it consists of different cell types, which – if combined correctly – result in a complex meat structure. This structuring process is technologically challenging, making steaks extremely difficult to produce. That’s why Mirai Foods is taking an important technological step towards sustainable meat with the first cultivated beef tenderloin steak.”
According to the Swiss food tech, where competitors produce only minced meat or thin slices, Mirai Foods succeeds in naturally recreating 1.5 cm (and even more) thick steaks.
“Long, fully mature muscle fibres are cultivated, joined by enzymes, and supplemented with cultivated fat tissue. After five to ten days in the bioreactor, a tenderloin centrepiece is complete, from which steaks of almost any thickness can be cut,” explains Mirai.
This milestone in the cultivated meat industry is possible thanks to Mirai’s bioreactor, The Rocket, which besides allowing tissue cultivation, improves efficiency and reduces costs. It embodies the company’s fibration technology, involving three patents for the process.
“We have filed three international patents for this key technology,” says Suman Das, CSO and co-founder of Mirai Foods. “We can deliver a real alternative to conventional meat. Using our technology, one can prepare and eat a real steak — and know that no animal had to die for it and the climate is not harmed.”
From seed to partnerships
Along with the cultivated steak development, Mirai also announced that the Swiss food and meat producer Angst AG has joined the company. In previous funding rounds, the company has seen international investors, including FRIBA Investment, Skyviews Life Science, Ulf Claesson, PINC, and Team Global.
In a strategy that reflects the startup’s expanding ambition, in August 2022, Mirai announced a partnership with Gaia Foods, a subsidiary of Shiok Meats to launch cultivated beef in Singapore. Additionally, last November, the Swiss company partnered with Rügenwalder Mühle to develop hybrid alt-meat products containing plant proteins and cultivated beef fat.
“Demand for meat is expected to double by 2050; conventional methods of meat production cannot meet this demand at all, and certainly not in a sustainable way,” Das added.