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UK's first lab-grown meat could be for cats, according to Meatly's Owen Ensor

March 14, 2024

Leading cultivated meat company, Meatly, has created the world’s first cans of pet food that use cultivated chicken as the protein source. The product was created in collaboration with its first brand partner, Omni, a fast-growing novel protein pet food company in the UK, founded by veterinarian Dr Guy Sandelowsky.

This is also a significant step in Meatly’s B2B route to market, as it looks to become both the first company in the world to sell cultivated meat for pets, and the first to gain regulatory approval and sell cultivated meat-based products in the UK and Europe.

For Omni, which has achieved more than £2 million (US$2.5 million) in sales to date selling dog food crafted from pulse, algae, and yeast protein diets, this first venture into the cultivated meat market comes in the form of canned wet food for cats. By utilizing Meatly’s cruelty-free chicken ingredient, this step represents a much-anticipated evolution of the pet food market as pet food brands, like Omni, look to offer ethical and more environmentally friendly products that are healthier for pets.

It also marks a huge moment for the wider pet food industry, which is growing 7% per annum globally and is expected to be worth £120 billion (US$153 billion) by 2026. However, with this growth, the industry’s environmental impact is increasing rapidly. Around 22% of the meat currently consumed in the UK is consumed by pets, representing a significant amount of GHG emissions. Meatly addresses this by producing sustainable, tasty and nutritious meat, whilst reducing our reliance on industrial agriculture.

To realise this potential and meet booming consumer demand for pet food, which has doubled in the last ten years and is expected to outstrip supply in the not-too-distant future, it is vital that sustainable protein sources like Meatly’s are brought to market quickly and at affordable prices. Once its product has been granted regulatory approval, through partnerships with retailers and manufacturers like Omni, Meatly-produced pet food will be available in shops across the country. As an early investor in Meatly, Pets at Home plans to be the first retailer to offer these products in its stores.

“It is incredibly exciting to see the first ever cans of cultivated pet food fly off the production line," enthused Owen Ensor, Co-founder & CEO of Meatly. "This is a major milestone for cultivated meat globally and shows that we are ready to sell product.

“As demand continues to grow, with pet food already accounting for 20% of meat produced globally, so too does the industry’s environmental impact. Cultivated meat gives pet parents an easy choice – high quality, tasty, nutritious, and sustainable pet food. We’re thrilled to work with innovative companies like Omni to make this a reality as soon as possible.”

“Meatly’s ingredient is incredibly exciting to us at Omni, not only because it represents a virtually infinite, cruelty-free source of meat but also because it can be optimised for health," added Omni's Sandelowsky. "This means more essential vitamins, minerals and omegas, and an elimination of the troublesome components that can be found in traditional meat, such as antibiotic residues. We see the ingredient of particular importance to the cat food market, which lacks credible alternative protein solutions currently.”

“We are excited to be a part of Meatly’s journey and are looking forward to being the first retailer to offer their products in our pet care centers," commented David Wainwright, Commercial Director at Pets at Home. "While it is still early days, we are committed to helping drive change in the industry and finding sustainable alternatives to replace some of the protein used globally in pet food would be a major step forward.”

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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