Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Cargill Inc., one of the biggest worldwide global meat companies, have joined other giants in business to invest in technology that produces meat from animal cells that are self-producing amidst the rising demand by consumers for protein that is not as reliant on land, water and feed.
Memphis Meats produces chicken, duck and beef directly from animal cells without needing to raise and slaughter poultry or livestock. It was able to raise over $17 million thanks to a host of investors that includes Cargill, Gates and Branson, indicated a statement released by the startup’s website that is based in San Francisco.
The round of fundraising was led by DFJ a venture capital company that previously has backed several retail startups that were social-minded.
Branson said he was thrilled to be investing in the company and that he believes in 30 years or slightly more, there will no longer be the need to kill animals and all meat would either by plant-based or clean, taste the same as well as being far healthier for the consumer than today.
This is the most recent move by a giant in agriculture to respond to the wants of consumers, especially the Millennials who are leaving their own mark rapidly on the food world across the U.S.
That is taking place through a surge in demand for products that are organic, more focus on the foods that are considered to be sustainable and much more attention on the treatment of animals.
Big livestock and poultry processors have begun to process alternatives to traditional meats.
Uma Valeti the CEO and co-founder of Memphis Meats said that the world loves to consume meat and it is the core to most traditions and cultures.
She added that the way conventional meat has been produced creates many challenges for animal welfare, human health and the environment. Those problems are ones that everyone has a desire to solve.
Up to now, Memphis Meats had been able to raise $22 million, signaling its commitment to the movement of clean meat, said the company.
Cargill took an equity position in the company’s first round of funding, said Cargill’s Sonay Roberts through an email without giving any figure of how much the company had invested.
This investment is the most recent for a traditional meat company. Tyson Foods, the largest meat producer in the U.S. created a new venture capital fund that is focused on making investments in companies to help sustainably feed the growing population in the world.