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Meatable to become first cultured pork producer in Singapore

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4 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
sweet and sour pork served in a dish on blue table with vegetables in background

Dutch start-up Meatable has partnered with the first and only commercially licensed cultivated meat manufacturer in the world, ESCO Aster, to bring cell-based pork products to Singapore.

The collaboration will allow Meatable to develop its lab-grown pork for dumplings, sausages, and other meat products. It hopes to launch the products in selected restaurants in the country by 2024, and supermarkets by 2025.

Singapore is the only country worldwide so far to have approved the sale of cultured meat, making it possible for ESCO Aster to help Meatable create and launch its products.

Founded in 2018, Meatable claims its cultivated pork has the same structure, texture, flavour and nutritional profile as conventional meat. These will be the first cultured pork products to launch in Singapore.

Cell-based pork dumplings are also “a world-first” in the cultured meat industry, says Meatable. As the global dumpling market is predicted to grow by $4.01 billion between 2021 and 2025, the start-up is working together with Singaporean chefs to develop bespoke lab-grown pork products for the Asian market.

Meatable hopes its products will help Singaporeans reduce their consumption of traditional meat. Currently they consume approximately 62kg of meat per person annually, and over 123,000 metric tonnes of pork were consumed in Singapore in 2020 alone.

Krijn de Nood, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Meatable said: “Given Singapore’s status as a pioneer of cultivated meat, we’re delighted to be partnering with ESCO Aster to begin production of our cultivated pork products with the aim to launch in restaurants in 2024.

“Our team has been working closely with the country’s butchers and chefs to develop the perfect cultivated pork dumplings and it was incredible to recently taste the dumplings and know that we have created something indistinguishable from traditional meat – because it is real meat.

“Along with our sausages, we have made great strides in recent months to create products that will satisfy the world’s appetites without harming the planet or animals in the process.”

The start-up’s cultured meat is made using a proprietary ‘opti-ox’ technology, which allows it to take just one single cell sample from an animal and use it to replicate the natural growth of muscle and fat to create slaughter-free real meat.

The technology is one of the fastest processes in the field, says Meatable. It also allows the company to create cultivated meat without needing foetal bovine serum ­– a growth media that is taken from pregnant cows at slaughter without using anaesthesia, and can cost as much as £1,000 for 1L.

The approval of the partnership comes as part of Singapore’s 30 by 30 strategy, whereby it aims to produce 30% of its food locally and sustainably by 2030. If successful, the country will have significantly improved its level of security, as it currently imports 90% of its food.

Established in Singapore in 2017, ESCO Aster is currently the first and only production facility globally to have regulatory approval to manufacture cultivated meat in Singapore. Meatable will be able to make use of the manufacturer’s high quality cultivated meat production facility, on site industry-leading scientists, and food safety specialists, to accelerate its products to market.

Chief Executive Officer at ESCO Aster, Xiangliang Lin said: “Meatable has emerged as one of the world’s leading companies in developing cultivated meat. We’re delighted to be partnering with them to facilitate their launch in Singapore and to enable the business to start producing cultivated pork for customers.

“With our scientific expertise, operational know-how and enabling technologies, we believe that we can help companies reach their milestones and advance to the next step of cultivated meat production with market approval at scale.

We’re excited about the potential for cultivated meat to transform how we feed the world and we’re looking to expand our facilities within and outside of Singapore to enable more companies like Meatable across this space.”

Both companies hope to expand production of the cultivated meat across the globe once it’s approved for human consumption and commercialisation.

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