Why is this significant?
Most cattle producers have seen cell based meat as the enemy. In this case a cattle producer, Toriyama Farm Ltd. from Japan, is actively co-operating with a cell based meat company!
Just Inc has an agreement with Toriyama Farms Ltd. in Japan, a producer of high end Wagyu beef products. In this agreement Toriyama will provide provide Just cells from its animals once a quarter. Toriyama breeds its cattle for the characteristic Wagyu breed marbled fat as well as umami, the property giving the characteristic savoury taste to products. Will these characteristics make it through into the final product? We already know that the environment and diet can affect the DNA of animals and humans so it’s quite possible this will happen. Especially since the cells will be from mature cattle.
Wagyu products can command up to USD100/lb and Toriyama sees this as a way to make the product more accessible to more people. “We want to undertake a new style of beef production that overcomes problems with the current manufacturing method,” says Wataru Toriyama, senior vice president of Toriyama Co.”
How long before it hits the market? According to Josh Tetrick of JUST a Wagyu burger will hit the market within 12- 18 months. Most likely it’ll be a combo of muscle and fat cell grown separately and then combined in the finished product. As always it’s the culture medium which is the major hurdle. Why? Because it’s currently very expensive and many contain animal products. Once over this hurdle cost effective commercial production becomes viable and watch out world!
This isn’t the end game however. JUST plans to produce “steak” products with the 3D structure of conventional steaks. Most likely by using 3D printers on a massive scale.
More significant even than JUST turning its sights on beef is that it’s with a cattle producer! JUST has managed to find a company with the foresight to see cell based meat as an opportunity and not a threat.
There’s a lesson there………………..