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Milestone tasting of cultured meat in Europe

February 14, 2024

Icelandic biotechnology company, ORF Genetics, and Australian novel food innovators, Vow, are have announced the success of its first-of-a-kind cultured meat tasting in Europe on 12 February 2024, featuring gourmet dishes created from the cells of Japanese quail. Among those attending was the Prime Minister and acting Minister of Food, Fisheries and Agriculture of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who had her first taste of cultivated meat at the event, which she enjoyed.

The production of cultured meat, also known as cultivated meat, is significantly more sustainable than traditional farming. Vow are pioneers in this novel industry, developing methods to grow meat directly from animal cells. The nascent sector has the potential to provide high-quality meat at scale with a minimal carbon footprint: Emitting much less greenhouse gases, and requiring less land and water, than traditional livestock farming.  

While the market for cultured meat is still in the early stages of development, it is foreseen to grow exponentially in the next few years and decades. A report by McKinsey predicts that the market for cultured meat could reach US$25 billion by 2030.

To become climate relevant and meet demand, cultured meat producers will have to scale-up production fast. This is where ORF Genetics comes in, an innovator in developing a range of animal growth factors, based on its extensive work with bioengineering barley grain. ORF Genetics has focused on expanding its portfolio of high-quality, animal growth factors, as well as to scale-up its production capacity to meet the needs of the cultured meat industry for a reliable supply of growth factors. Growth factors are critical components in cultured meat production.

"It is clear that our food systems need to change so that we can feed a population estimated to reach nine billion in 2040," said Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister and acting Minister of Food, Fisheries and Agriculture of Iceland. "It is also evident that we need to use innovation and technology to establish new ways of addressing the climate challenge. This is exactly what we are seeing on the tasting tables here today. Cultivated meat is one of the solutions to the climate challenge. The Icelandic authorities are determined to pave the way for the adoption of new solutions in Iceland and we are eager to see the development of an EU regulatory framework for cultivated meat."

"We are excited to bring this innovative, novel food product for this milestone tasting event here in Iceland, showcasing that not only is cultivated meat a more sustainable alternative to traditional meat – but that it is also a delicious one," added Berglind Rán Ólafsdóttir, CEO of ORF Genetics. "ORF's barley-grown growth factors allow cultured meat companies like Vow not only to grow but to rapidly scale-up its production to meet future-market demands."  

"Vow is a unique company in the cultured meat industry focused on expanding the options available to consumers today, not just replicating what we already eat," stated George Peppou, Co-Founder & CEO of Vow. "We have a vision of producing meat that is deliberately different - uniquely delicious, nutritious and sustainable, and unlike anything you've tasted before. That is why we are so excited to partner with ORF to announce today that Icelanders will be the first to taste an entirely new food in Europe's first ever official cultured meat tasting."

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