Cargill announced that it will join other partners in investing $11.65 million in Aleph Farms, an Israeli food tech incubator focused on growing complex meat varieties like steak. Aleph Farms grows meat directly from beef cells using a 3D tissue engineering platform. In December 2018, it achieved a world-first by demonstrating it could grow a steak directly from bovine cells, according to Cargill. Aleph Farms plans to begin building bio-farms and move toward a limited consumer product launch with steak grown under controlled conditions within three-to-five years "Cargill is committed to innovation and we are delighted to be a part of Aleph's accelerated growth," said Sonya Roberts, managing director of growth ventures and strategic pricing for Cargill Protein North America. "This partnership connects new frontiers in cell-based technology with insights in the global food system and supply chains to meet future customer and consumer needs." While cultured proteins represent a relatively small portion of Cargill's $1.5 billion traditional animal protein portfolio, the company says it sees value in investments in innovators like Aleph Farms. "Consumer demand for protein continues to be very strong. That means there's an opportunity for plant and cultured protein growth to complement our traditional animal protein portfolio," said Roberts. The investment in Aleph Farms builds on Cargill’s other partnerships in alternative protein. In 2017, Cargill was an early investor in Memphis Meats, a company leading the way in development of cultured meat. Cargill also is an investor in plant-based protein through Puris, a firm that has launched a new pea-based protein that is non-GMO, organic and allergen-friendly.
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