Chinese company CellX launched a lab-grown meat factory in Shanghai on Wednesday.
CellX co-founder and CEO Ziliang Yang told the South China Morning Post that the plant has a 2,000-litre bioreactor with a capacity to produce “single-digit tonnes” of cultivated meat per year.
Yang said that they plan to add more bioreactors soon.
“The insights from this pilot facility will be used for our commercial production facility that we’re planning to complete by 2025 [which] will be able to produce hundreds of tonnes of products per year,” Yang said.
There are 1.4 billion people in China, so creating lab-grown meat has been one of their top priorities to provide animal protein to the population without depending on imports.
The SCMP reports, “In May 2022, Beijing expressed its support for the development of synthetic protein as a food source to reduce the pressures on environmental resources brought on by traditional livestock breeding, as part of its 14th five-year development plan for the bio-economy. This was preceded by the inclusion of lab-grown meat and other alternative proteins in January to ensure a sustainable food supply.”
“Yang said the pilot facility will help to reduce CellX’s production cost to below US$100 per pound, making it competitive against premium meats, he said, adding that the launch of CellX’s commercial production facility in 2025 will further reduce costs,” the report continued. “In comparison, one pound of A5 grade Japanese Wagyu Kobe beef sells for around US$189 on Amazon.”
Yang is planning to approach food regulators in the US to begin exporting it here in 2025.
“The fact that we’re able to do pilots and reduce costs below US$100 per pound is really a major milestone that signifies the transition from R&D to production,” said Yang. “Industrialisation and commercialisation is something that we will focus on next.”