Cellular agriculture continues to make strides in the food industry as Czech start-up Mewery reveals its cell-cultivated pork burger, targeting the foodservice markets in the United States and Singapore.
Mewery's innovative pork burger combines porcine cells with microalgae cells, offering a sustainable and cruelty-free alternative to conventional meat. The company recently introduced a prototype of the burger at the Rock for People festival, a prominent Czech cultural event attended by approximately 40,000 people. Although public tastings are not yet permitted in the European Union, an astounding 90% of event attendees expressed their interest in trying the burger.
While regulatory approvals for cell-cultivated meat are limited to the US and Singapore, the recent clearance obtained by Upside Foods and Good Meat for the sale of cultivated chicken in the US marks a significant milestone for the industry, ushering in a "new era for meat."
Mewery's unique approach involves replacing fetal bovine serum (FBS), a common animal-derived component used in laboratory settings, with a cultivation medium based on microalgae. The start-up has developed its own proprietary medium, which supports the co-cultivation of porcine cell lines derived from umbilical cords with microalgae. By incorporating microalgae into the process, Mewery enhances the nutritional value of the final meat product, while eliminating the need to harm animals during cultivation.
Since its establishment in 2020 with support from the US accelerator Big Idea Ventures, Mewery has focused on developing innovative technology that eliminates the reliance on FBS in cell-cultured growth. By utilizing engineered microalgae growth factors to stimulate mammalian cell growth, the company has successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of its approach through the creation of a pork and microalgae prototype last February. This groundbreaking method has the potential to reduce costs by up to 70% compared to traditional FBS methods, making lab-grown meat more competitive with conventionally produced animal meat.
The advancements made by Mewery in the field of cellular agriculture highlight the growing interest and investment in alternative protein solutions. These innovations have the potential to address the environmental impact of traditional meat and seafood production while meeting the increasing demand for sustainable and cruelty-free food options. As the industry continues to evolve, cell-cultivated products are poised to play a significant role in shaping the future of the global food system.