SAN FRANCISCO – Cultured meat producer Eat Just, Inc., announced the use of its cultured chicken as an ingredient in chicken bites has been approved to sell in Singapore, making it the first country in the world to commercialize cell-based meat products. After two years of extensive testing and review of its process, the Singapore Food Agency gave the product the go ahead, the company said.
Eat Just has other chicken products in the pipeline as part of its Good Meat portfolio. The initial launch in Singapore is planned to be on a small scale, starting with a single restaurant as the company scales production and works toward reducing the cost of the product. It is being marketed as a healthier and more sustainable protein option.
“Singapore has long been a leader in innovation of all kinds, from information technology to biologics to now leading the world in building a healthier, safer food system,” said Josh Tetrick, chief executive officer and co-founder of Eat Just. “I'm sure that our regulatory approval for cultured meat will be the first of many in Singapore and in countries around the globe. Working in partnership with the broader agriculture sector and forward-thinking policymakers, companies like ours can help meet the increased demand for animal protein as our population climbs to 9.7 billion by 2050.”
As part of the development process overseas, the company established a partnership with local food manufacturers in Singapore to produce the product. The development is solidifying Singapore’s reputation as a global hotbed for entrepreneurial businesses and especially for sustainable culinary innovation in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the company. Earlier this year, Eat Just announced a partnership with investors led by Proterra Investment Partners Asia Pte. Ltd, to build and operate a plant protein production facility in Singapore to manufacture Eat Just’s plant-based Just Egg products across Asia.
“Cultured meat’s role in creating a safer, more secure global food supply has been well-documented, and the last decade has given rise to a steady increase in the application of animal cell culture technology toward the development of food products,” Eat Just said.
In addition to the SFA’s approval, Eat Just’s chicken was approved for human consumption by a consortium of international scientists who are considered experts in food safety, toxicology, cell biology and medicine, according to the company.
Eat Just’s lab-grown meat regulatory approval marks a major milestone in managing consumers’ environmental footprint, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.
“While there are a number of active cell-culturing companies developing meat and fish, US-based Eat Just’s approval in Singapore shows that this technology is getting that much closer to scale," said Ryan Whittaker, consumer analyst at GlobalData. "Scale will ultimately lower prices and help to reduce global warming and improve animal welfare – two issues that have been prioritized for consumers amid COVID-19."
Forty-eight per cent of global consumers reported that the reduction of their environmental footprint is now more important to them than before the pandemic, GlobalData found in its Nov. 10 consumer survey. The number jumps to 53% in the Asia-Pacific region.
“New product development in Asia that focuses on delivering alternative meat sources to these consumers while reducing environmental impact will have a receptive, appreciative audience," Mr. Whitaker said. "Approximately one quarter of Asia-Pacific consumers are buying less meat than before the pandemic. This is an extremely important milestone, as the ethical and environmental issues around meat, animal welfare and climate are becoming more prevalent. Emissions for meat without slaughter and animal rearing is much lower and uses far less water and land. However, the big question is whether consumers will go for it. Given the recent explosion in vegan meat alternatives, if it tastes right, they will, and that’s good because the planet needs us to.”