Cargill will invest in Aleph Farms, a cultured meat company focused on growing complex meat varieties.
Cargill is participating in a Series A investment round led by VisVires New Protein and joined by several other investors looking to move Aleph Farms' product from prototype to the commercial marketplace. Aleph Farms grows meat directly from beef cells using a 3D tissue engineering platform. In December 2018, it demonstrated it could grow a steak directly from bovine cells.
"This partnership connects new frontiers in cell-based technology with insights in the global food system and supply chains to meet future customer and consumer needs,” said Sonya Roberts, managing director of growth ventures and strategic pricing for Cargill Protein North America.
Aleph Farms plans to begin building bio-farms and move toward a limited consumer product launch with steak grown under controlled conditions within three-to-five years.
The investment in Aleph Farms builds on Cargill's other partnerships in alternative protein. In 2017, Cargill was an early investor in Memphis Meats. Cargill also is an investor in plant-based protein through Puris, a firm that has launched a new pea-based protein that is non-GMO, organic and allergen-friendly. These investments complement the company's investment in its traditional animal protein portfolio, which has totaled more than $1.5 billion over the several years.
"We all need to work together to address the increasing global need for protein in the coming years, especially as more consumers move into the middle-class and the demand for protein increases. We have a responsibility to look at all innovations that can help us feed the world," said Jon Nash, president, Cargill Protein-North America.
The company's commitment to investing in animal protein remains unwavering.
"We believe in the power of protein and the critical role animal protein will continue to play in nourishing the world for the long-term," said Nash.