Aleph Farms was co-founded in 2017 by Israeli food-tech incubator The Kitchen, a part of the Strauss Group Ltd., and the Technion. The company is supported by US and European venture capital firms. Aleph Farms joined The RisingFoodStars—the European Institute of Technology (EIT) Food’s club of outstanding agrifood start-ups in July 2018. Aleph Farms is shaping the future of meat by turning cow cells into beef cuts, replicating the complex shape, texture and flavor of a steak.
The food tech start-up’s new product demonstrates its capabilities for growing different types of natural beef cells isolated from the cow into a fully 3-D structure similar to conventional meat. The breakthrough not only obtains the true texture and structure of beef muscle tissue steak, but also the flavor and shape, establishing a new benchmark in cell-cultured meat technology.
Slaughter-free meat involves taking a sample of animal cells from a real cow and replicating them outside of the animal: without the antibiotics, environmental footprint, contamination and animal slaughter which comes with conventional meat production within 3 weeks.
Aleph Farms successfully grown slaughter-free steak, without the need for devoting vast tracts of land, water, feed, and other resources to raise cattle for meat and uses no antibiotics. See the video here.
Cell-grown meat is typically grown from a few cells of a living animal, extracted painlessly. These cells are nourished and grow to produce a complex matrix that replicates muscle tissue.
One of the barriers to grown meat production has been getting the various cell types to interact with each other to build a complete tissue structure as they would in the natural environment inside the animal. The challenge is to find the right nutrients and their combination that would allow the multicellular matrix to grow together efficiently, creating a complete structure. The company overcame this obstacle thanks to a bio-engineering platform developed in collaboration with the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa.
“We’re shaping the future of the meat industry — literally,” says Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms. “Making a patty or a sausage from cells cultured outside the animal is challenging enough, imagine how difficult it is to create a whole-muscle steak.At Aleph Farms, this is not science fiction. We’ve transformed the vision into reality by growing a steak under controlled conditions. The initial products are still relatively thin, but the technology we developed marks a true breakthrough and a great leap forward in producing a cell-grown steak.”
Aleph Farms is implementing a combination of six unique technologies that allow it to drop the production costs of the meat, including innovative approaches related to an animal-free growth medium to nourish the cells, and bioreactors – the tanks in which the tissue grows.
“Aleph Farms’ minute steak is thinly sliced and will cook in just a minute or so,” says Amir Ilan, chef of the restaurant Paris Texas in Ramat Gan, Israel. “For me, it is a great experience to eat meat that has the look and feel of beef but has been grown without antibiotics and causes no harm to animals or the environment. Aleph Farms meat has high culinary potential – it can be readily incorporated into top-shelf preparations or served in premium-casual restaurants, trendy cafes, bistros, or other eateries.”