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Consolidation on the way in cultured meat sector

More than £2.6bn has been invested in the cell-based meat area since 2016, according to a new report by Oghma Partners, a finance advisory firm.

A handful of companies have scooped the lion’s share of the funding, with Upside Foods’ £555.1m in funds raised representing 21.5% of the global total. In all, the top five cell-based meat manufacturers – Upside Foods, Believer Meats, Wildtype, Aleph Farms, and Mosa Meat – account for 46.9% of all funds raised between 2016 and 2023. 

The sums involved in deals are also getting bigger. In 2016 deals were mostly no more than £1m but now they are in the hundreds of millions.

The significant investment has led to increasing cap-ex spend with many companies scaling up production capacity and R&D facilities, explained Mark Lynch, partner at Oghma. “These investments, some of which are yet to be completed, have the potential to accelerate the launch of products to consumers in the cell-based meat space,” he added. 

However, money for new investment is “harder to come by”. The industry will be challenged to deliver sales, Lynch said, as he forecast a “shake-out similar to that we are seeing in the plant-based meat sector, with consolidation amongst the players most likely”.

Most of the funds are directed toward companies involved in the development and production of cell-based meat. Other areas of focus include cell-based seafood, ingredients, and pet food.  

The report also details the top five UK companies in this growing sector: Hoxton Farms, Ivy Farm Technologies, Moolec Science, Roslin Technologies and Uncommon.

The Telegraph recently reported that the UK Government is keen to “fast-track” cultured meats to “ease the cost of living” and provide “alternative forms of environmentally-friendly meat”. 

No such meats are yet approved for consumption in the UK. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has scoped out the potential risks and hazards of producing meat from animal cells, and is currently considering changes to the regulatory approval process that could stimulate approvals.