Mogale Meat, a South African cellular food technology company, has launched Africa’s first cultured chicken. According to the company, the launch marks the birth of a major new technological momentum aimed at producing more essential animal proteins for humans, and the startup says cultured meat is a “potential game-changer” for the planet, and more particularly for Africa’s biodiversity. and wildlife conservation.
Mogale Meat’s Cultured Chicken Breast, made from real chicken muscle and fat cells mixed with a mushroom matrix, is the first prototype the startup is showing. A wild animal meat product will be unveiled later this year.
“With Africa’s population expanding, set to double over the next 30 years, we are rapidly outgrowing our capacity to provide affordable and nutritious food. Cultured meat has the promise of ensuring food security and adding of nutritional value without other high impact agricultural practices that have devastating effects on Africa’s biodiversity and wildlife,” says Mogale Meat.
He adds: “In recent years, we have seen the food industry shift towards alternative meats and sustainable sources of protein, with plant-based meat-like products, and now cultured meat making an appearance. . Globally, there are already more than 100 startups working. in the cultured meat space with billions of dollars invested. It is exciting that South Africa is one of these 100 companies and has reached such a milestone by introducing Africa’s first cultured chicken.
Over the past 18 months, the startup has used cutting-edge scientific research and innovation to produce cultured meat from free-range livestock and wild animals such as cattle and antelope. Although Mogale Meat focuses on being a cultured game meat company, in just eight months it produced Africa’s first chicken breast prototype using cultured meat technology to enter the global XPrize competition. Feed the Next Billion of $15 million.
Mogale Meat Co, the lead partner of the MeatOurFuture project, in collaboration with Biotechnology and Food Science, Tshwane University of Technology and School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal is the only semi-finalist team , of 31 teams, from the African continent for this prestigious competition. Each team had a choice of chicken or fish, and MeatOurFuture opted for chicken, as it is not only the most popular meat in Africa, but also the most consumed meat in the world.
Mogale Meat says its vision is to make healthy and nutritious cell-based meat accessible to everyone in Africa. The team is currently working on prototyping a unique plug-and-play modular concept production plant that will make cultured meat where people are. “This will not only provide people across the African continent with affordable and nutritious animal protein, but will do so in a way that conserves Africa’s precious wildlife and biodiversity,” the startup said.
Challenges to overcome
The biggest challenge Mogale Meat and other cultured meat companies currently face is firstly to reduce the cost of large-scale meat manufacturing, and secondly to pave the way for regulatory approval. Although cultured meat is real meat, it requires that food safety, production and trade policies be updated to include cell-cultured meat that is produced without the conventional method of slaughter of live animals.
Cultured meat is produced by taking a small biopsy from a living animal and growing the cells in a bioreactor, similar to how cells would grow in an animal, but more efficiently and without the addition of growth hormones undesirables, antibiotics and other chemicals.
“Producing meat with cell technology also means reducing the environmental impact of raising more livestock to meet human consumption demands. Less land has to be plowed to feed animals in feedlots, less water is needed and most importantly the wildlife and incredible biodiversity that we have in Africa can be conserved by switching to cultured meat production,” says Mogale Meat.
Conserving Africa’s Wildlife Heritage
Dr Paul Bartels, Animal Veterinarian and Founder and CEO of Mogale Meat, says: “Mogale Meat Co is raising the bar by developing BestByNature food technology that will not only impact how people view and eat healthy game meat , but also supporting the economic and social well-being of the wildlife industry, national parks and communities living with wildlife.
Mogale Meat aims to conserve Africa’s wildlife heritage by providing sustainable animal protein to the people of Africa and around the world through cultured game meat created from the cells of free-ranging antelope and cattle.