A food technology startup based in Berkeley, California, has unveiled the first-ever "marbled cultivated pork loin." In a recent announcement, Novel Farms, Inc. says it has created a cultivated pork loin that displays the marbling and texture of a real muscle cut.
While the vast majority of cultivated meat companies focus on making sausages or burgers, the company says producing meat that mimics conventional meat cuts is extremely difficult — only a handful of companies in the world have been able to showcase pork or beef structured prototypes.
Novel Farms says it solved the structuring problem by developing a proprietary microbial fermentation approach to produce low-cost, edible and highly customizable scaffolds. While scaffolding biomaterials such as alginate need to undergo costly functionalization to ensure effective cell attachment, their scaffolding process completely bypasses this step, reducing production costs by 99.27% and thus accelerating the path to the commercialization of their products at price parity.
The founder team, Nieves Martinez Marshall and Michelle Lu, met while working as postdoctoral scientists in the molecular and cell biology department at the University of California at Berkeley prior to launching the company in 2020. The resesarchers say their combined experience of over 30 years was key in the ideation of the unique structuring approach for producing cultivated meat, which has been awarded a highly competitive grant from the National Science Foundation through the Small Business Innovation Research Program (phase I) in 2021.
"Our goal is to accelerate the widespread adoption of cultivated meat and its benefits by producing 'hard-to-resist' whole muscle cuts," said Nieves Martinez Marshall. "Therefore, we need to be able to fulfill consumer demand by delivering cultivated meat with the same fibrous texture and mouthfeel as conventional cuts from an animal."
Novel Farms has raised $1.4 million in a pre-seed round with participation of Big Idea Ventures Joyance, Social Starts, Sustainable Food Ventures, Good Startup, CULT foods and strategic angel investors.
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