In a year that has seen a tremendous amount of exciting news around cultivated meat, Sci-fi Foods, brings yet another major milestone to the space. The Bay Area startup, which has quickly become a leading name since emerging from stealth just six months ago, announced today the results of the first Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) ever conducted around the sustainability benefits of cultivated beef products. The study, conducted by The Ohio State University (OSU), was further validated by Sustainability, a peer-reviewed, open-access academic journal published by MDPI, who, after a lengthy analysis, ultimately approved and published the study. Currently, it is available for all to read online, free of charge.
One of the biggest arguments for the case of cultivated meat revolves around the climate benefits. Until now, there have been limited research to prove such claims, however, none specifically conducted around cultivated beef, which has opened the door to some criticism. As such, SCiFi Foods felt it was important to prove the validity of its sustainability assertions. The LCA environmental impact study took a SCiFi burger consisting of cultivated beef cells and plant-based ingredients (water, soy protein isolate, etc.) and compared it to traditional (beef) meat. While some parts of the process were very similar in impact such as cold storage, packaging, and distribution, there was little doubt overall that the SCiFi Burger had a significantly smaller environmental impact.
In all areas of consumption: GHG emissions, energy, land, and water usage, the SCiFi Foods burger resulted as a more sustainable product compared to a traditional beef patty. The study did not assume the exclusive usage of renewable energy and also suggested that the SCiFi burger could become even more climate friendly through such methods, a potential benefit unavailable to conventional cattle farming.
Dr. Bhavik Bakshi, Richard M. Morrow Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University who led the study, expressed his excitement around the results. “There are many ways engineering and bioengineering is being utilized today to create a more sustainable future,” he said, “and this is just the onset when it comes to what science can do for the food system.”
While this study is specific to SCiFi Foods’ products, it is a validator for the entire space, much like the FDA’s first premarket consultation for cultivated meat that occurred last month. These initial hurdles are the hardest to cross, but ultimately, they break a barrier for more to follow, or prove a point of contention—in this case climate benefits—that helps boost everyone.
“Since June, when we changed our name, we showed the world we want to be a company with an open door policy, and that includes backing all the claims we make,” said Co-founder and CEO, Joshua March. He continued, “And honestly, we’re proud to prove that yes, what we’re doing is truly making an impact, because as much as this is about delicious burgers, the crux of it is about leaving a positive mark on the planet.”
SCiFi Foods office and lab is based in San Leandro and expects to break ground on its official pilot plant early in 2023. The company hopes to launch its blended burgers in 2024; no date has been set at this point. For more information, company updates, and job openings, please visit: http://www.scififoods.com, or email: [email protected].
About SCiFi Foods
SCiFi Foods is racing to be first to market in cultivated beef with the launch of the SCiFi burger. Blending cultivated and plant-based ingredients, it delivers the same mouthwatering taste, smell, and juiciness of conventional beef. The SCiFi Foods team has developed the world’s first beef suspension cell lines which represent the largest zero to one in the cultivated meat space, reducing cost by 1000x at scale. Its R&D is powered by a cutting-edge synthetic biology platform combined with modern bioengineering technology, such as CRISPR, to push the industry toward price parity with conventional meat. It was co-founded by CEO Joshua March, a serial entrepreneur with two prior exits, and CTO Kasia Gora, PhD., who has led R&D teams in bioengineering for more than a decade, most recently at Zymergen. To date, the company has raised $29M from leading investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Valor Siren Ventures, BoxGroup, and Entree Capital, amongst others.