Meat-Tech 3D, an Israeli company developing lab-grown, bioprinted meat, has announced that it is acquiring an unnamed company to aid its goal of producing cruelty-free meat for mass consumption.

The company, which Meat-Tech describes as “a leading developer of cultured fat products” has developed a stem-cell-based technology that enables it to lab-grow animal fats without harming animals. The method, which is proprietary to the company, can produce fats from a wide range of animals, including cattle, chickens and geese.

The deal, which is subject to the usual due diligence processes, will see Meat-Tech purchase all of the company’s shares for $17.5m.

It will bring key capabilities to Meat-Tech, which is currently developing technologies to manufacture lab-grown meats as an alternative to traditional farming practices using 3D bioprinting.

Acquisition could make Meat-Tech a key player in the nascent lab-grown meat market

Promising an end to animal cruelty and improved environmental credentials over traditional farming, lab-grown meats are expected to form a key part of the future food supply. However, the production of fats, which provide much of the flavour of meats, has proved to be a key stumbling block.

If the company Meat-Tech is acquiring is able to solve this, it could make Meat-Tech a powerful player in the nascent lab-grown meat market.

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“We expect the cultured fat technology to offer significant R&D synergies and help us realise our vision of development and production of a variety of cell-based foods using more sustainable production technologies. We hope to collaborate with new team members very soon,” said Sharon Fima, CEO and CTO of Meat-Tech.

The company plans to develop initial products for commercialisation by combining cultured fats with plant proteins to produce hybrid products that offer a more authentic meat flavour than current products. And with the plant-based meat market expected to be worth $27.9bn by 2025 – a 15% rise since 2019, according to Markets and Markets – this could prove to be a valuable offering in the space.

“Cultured fats are a promising candidate to be amongst the first cell-based products to be launched at scale,” said Steve H Lavin, chairman of the Board of Directors of Meat-Tech.

Read more: Lab-grown meat acceptance is possible, but only if marketed right