Aleph Farms launches new cultivated meat product

Posted: 18 April 2023 | | No comments yet

Didier Toubia, CEO and Co-founder of Aleph Farms, reveals the fascinating manufacturing process behind it and offer reassurance to regulators.

aleph farms

Aleph Cuts is the new venture from Aleph Farms

Cultivated meat manufacturer Aleph Farms has announced the launch of its first product brand, Aleph Cuts. Under the Aleph Cuts brand, the company will also market its first product, a cultivated Petit Steak, which it claims is the world’s first cultivated steak and is anticipated to launch in Singapore and Israel later this year, pending regulatory approvals.

“With the launch of Aleph Cuts, we are introducing our product through an epicurean lens to connect people to our incredible ‘new take on steak,’ sharing what this choice means in an engaging and authentic way,” said Nicky Quinn, VP Marketing at Aleph Farms.

“Iconic brands aren’t built overnight or by one person or team. We look forward to co-creating our brand over time with consumers, so we can best serve their evolving needs.”

The genesis of Aleph Cuts came much earlier though, as Co-founder and CEO of Didier Toubia told New Food. “In 2018, we used cellular agriculture to unveil the world’s first cultivated thin-cut steak. Under the Aleph Cuts brand, we will market this product.”

It is much more difficult to create a single cut of cultivated meat than say a ground beef or processed analogue, yet that didn’t phase Toubia.

“We believe that culturally relevant and quality products connect with consumers on an emotional level, and that this will help drive long-term impact. This is why we produce cultivated steaks, regardless of how much easier it may be to produce ground meat products.”

Aleph Farms says it is working closely with regulatory agencies around the world as it prepares for the commercial launch of its first product under the Aleph Cuts brand, a cultivated Petit Steak grown from non-modified cells of a premium Angus cow.

“Aleph Farms is working closely with regulatory authorities across the globe and is actively engaged in transparent communication to enable smooth approval processes. Regulators are valued partners in building trust with diners and achieving common goals like food safety,” said Toubia.

“The regulatory review of each product and production process goes through a different pathway based on the regulatory framework formalised by each specific country or region. It is a learning process for companies that produce cultivated meat and regulatory agencies alike, and we continue to be involved in close dialogue with these agencies around the world.”

Toubia also offered some explanation as to why the regulatory landscape is so dynamic, and a word of reassurance for potentially unsure regulators.

“The cultivated meat space is relatively new for regulatory agencies. This is one reason that we maintain a dynamic, ongoing channel of communication with these agencies.

“For any regulators that may be worried about consumer approval, there are clear positive signals. As we prepare for a commercial launch in Singapore, we are interested in knowing how Singaporeans feel about eating cultivated steak. After all, for anyone seeking sustainable, eco-friendly food options that don’t sacrifice flavor or experience, cultivated steak checks all the boxes. Surveyed consumers envisioned that cultivated steak may very well become a staple of their diet: 71 percent would order regularly and 27 percent would order occasionally. We also have positive signs from US, UK, and Thai consumers from research we have conducted.”

aleph cuts

Aleph Farms had developed a thin steak in the past, and will now market the product under Aleph Cuts

As with all its products, there is no slaughter involved in production; instead, from a single fertilised egg, Aleph Farms can grow thousands of tons of cultivated meat, serving as part of a just and inclusive transition to sustainable and secure food systems.

“We source a fertilised egg from a premium Black Angus cow named Lucy, allow it to develop for a short period of time, and then derive cells from it. These cells have the potential to mature into the different types of cells that make up meat, like muscle and collagen-producing cells. The cells are preserved at sub-zero temperatures in our cell bank and can be used to cultivate Aleph Cuts,” Toubia explained.

“Next, we move a small number of starter cells into a growth tank called a cultivator. Our cultivators provide a temperature-controlled, clean, and closed environment where cells can thrive. The cell feed contains everything the cells need to live and grow, including water, oxygen, nutrients, and growth factors. In this environment, our starter cells quickly produce many duplicates.

“We transfer the young cells into separate cultivators to mature into different cell types for muscle and collagen. Inside a cow, a network of proteins and other molecules would surround, support, and give structure to these cells. At Aleph Farms, we model this process with a plant protein matrix made of soy and wheat, which enables the cells to form the shape and texture of an Aleph Cut.

“In just about four weeks our Cuts are ready for harvesting and packaging. They are stored and ready for distribution to our chef partners. Whether served as a whole cut, sliced, or shredded, chefs are able to create traditional or new innovative dishes with Aleph Cuts.”

One of the major questions around cultivated meat is pricing. Where cultivated meat is on sale around the world, it is often at a higher price point than “traditional” meat counterparts. So, where will Aleph Farms price its new product?

“At the time of initial launch, Aleph Farms’ Petit Steaks will be priced similar to ultra-premium beef. The company is taking various steps to drive economies of scale and achieve price parity with more of the beef market,” Toubia confirmed.

“These include developing specific technological modules in its production platform and establishing strategic agreements across its supply chains, both in the upstream (like raw materials for production) and in the downstream (like processing and marketing).”

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