Europe ‘lagging’ in lab-grown meat race, report reveals

Europe ‘lagging’ in lab-grown meat race, report reveals

After cultured meat received FDA approval, lab-grown meat is predicted to make up nearly a quarter of all meat consumption by 2035.

A recent report has highlighted the countries poised to be leading developers of lab-grown meat, as the sector is predicted to rapidly increase its market share in the food industry. This fast-growing element of the foodtech sector involves cultivating meat by culturing animal cells.

The starting pistol for the lab-grown meat market was fired when the Singapore Food Agency approved the commercial sale of a lab-grown chicken product in December 2020. The Asian country is now the fourth-biggest investor in cultured meat, with six companies involved and more than £100 million raised.

Yet, that’s eclipsed by the US, which is responsible for over 60% of global investment in lab-grown meat (more than all other countries combined) – and has broken the billion pound-barrier in the process. The FDA’s November 2022 decision to declare cultured meat declared safe to eat has paved the way for mass-market adoption.

The top 10 countries by total investment raised for cultured meat development:

 CountryCompany countTotal raised (£million)% of total raised
1United States23£1,360.2462.24%
5United Kingdom8£28.551.31%
7South Korea3£21.090.97%

The report was created by IP specialists GovGrant to discover which countries and companies are attracting most funding for cultured meat developments. 

Israel, in second place, has less than half the US’ investment so far. It does, however, have a mature venture capital sector and a high proportion of specialised companies. 

The Netherlands comes third on the list, but fourth-placed Singapore has triple the amount of companies working in the niche.

The UK, in fifth place, has eight companies focussing on cultured meat, but has attracted just 1% of global investment.

European companies lagging behind, even in Europe

Among the top 10 companies for patents in Europe, only three are actually from Europe: HigherSteaks (UK), Mosa Meat (Netherlands) and Biotech Foods (Spain). The rest are US or Asia-based, with two coming from Israel. 

These companies already have an advantage when it comes to protecting their innovations in Europe – potentially monopolising the foundational technology behind this new method of meat production.

Alec Griffiths, IP Manager at GovGrant, says:

“With the FDA rubber-stamping lab-grown meat as safe, the market should really take off now. That makes it more important than ever for companies to protect their assets, so we can expect to see an acceleration in the number of patents filed in the coming months and years – and plenty of new faces in the sector.

Adam Simmonds, Research Associate at GovGrant, says:

“Since there’s such huge potential demand for lab-grown meat, that’ll only spur companies on to innovate further and perfect their products. This could become an interesting area of growth for the US and other countries, particularly as not many nations possess the expertise to produce this meat. There will definitely be an uplift in the number of producers, who’ll want to take full advantage of the upcoming boom in demand.”


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