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Promising Potential: Cultivated Fat Set to Change the Game

Taken from Mission Barns

Plant-based meat is created from plants without the need for animals to convert them into meat. This process results in a more efficient way of producing meat by directly using plant ingredients to create meat, rather than relying on animals to do so. Plant-based meat sales skyrocketed in 2020 as people stayed at home due to COVID. However, sales plateaued in 2021 and some popular brands, such as Beyond Meat and Impossible, have experienced a dip. Despite rising concern about climate change and a quarter of Americans claiming to have reduced their meat consumption, plant-based meats are not succeeding as expected. The plant-based protein market remains at a crossroad where plant oils are not able to compare with animal fat, and food makers suggested cultivated animal fat.

Cultivated fat is an ingredient that is produced by growing animal fat cells in a nutrient solution, which is identical to those in a live animal. It is not derived from animals and does not require an animal to be killed, making it a sustainable and animal-friendly source. The focus is to deter people away from traditional animal farming methods. Additionally, fat cells grow more efficiently as the environment for cultivation can be more flexible. Market leaders like Mission Barns have successfully set up their fat production plant, where the production of cultivated fats can be much scalable and safe.

This ingredient has the potential to improve the taste of plant-based products, which is the primary factor to acquire and retain consumers selecting meat substitutes. Cultivated fat tends to elevate the flavour and taste of food, making it desirable and tasty. According to the blind tastings by Mission Barns, all of the cultivated fat products outperform the existing plant-based products significantly, and in some cases, comes close to tying the conventional meat products. The texture, cooking performance and taste of meat are enhanced where fat has a large role to play.

From a functionality perspective, plant-based fats have lower melting points than animal-based fats, which makes plant-based burgers messier and drier as the fats melt out. To counter this, plant-based meat makers add additional fats like coconut oils, which can make the products fattier. However, with cultivated fat, less fat is needed, and it behaves like animal-based fat with less melting and more moisture. Additionally, cultivated fat does not contain trans fats, which are the least healthy classification of fat. This ingredient could make a significant difference in convincing meat-eating consumers to choose plant-based products regularly.

Taken from Mission Barns

However, despite interest from companies and consumers in sustainable solutions to traditional animal husbandry, the mass commercialization of these products is hindered by governmental and regulatory hurdles. Nonetheless, the interest in cultivated animal products, especially cultivated fat, is widespread. It may also appeal to consumers who are concerned with both health and taste since it can be selectively rendered to feature healthier fats like omega-3s. The wide universe of potential products using cultivated fat renders the technology to be the future of alternative protein.

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