Los Angeles-based cultivated meat startup, Omeat, has officially entered the market after four years of intensive research and development. With a groundbreaking approach that addresses the cost and scalability challenges of cultivated meat, Omeat aims to meet the global demand for animal protein while significantly reducing the environmental impact associated with conventional animal agriculture.
At the helm of Omeat is Dr. Ali Khademhosseini, a world-renowned tissue engineer and the company’s Founder and CEO. Khademhosseini, previously focused on growing human tissues for medical applications, recognized the pressing need for a sustainable and humane alternative to conventional meat production. Motivated by the detrimental effects of traditional animal agriculture on the environment, public health, and animal welfare, he turned his attention to developing a scalable method for producing cultivated meat.
The innovative approach employed by Omeat involves extracting regenerative factors from live, healthy cows in a humane manner. These factors are then used to derive growth media, which has historically been the most expensive component of cultivated meat production. Astonishingly, this growth media can be utilized to efficiently cultivate various types of meat, including beef, pork, chicken, and fish, making Omeat’s solution highly versatile and adaptable.
Omeat sources its growth media from a herd of cows that graze freely on its farm in California. The farm is meticulously designed to achieve carbon negativity and employs regenerative practices to promote soil health. Techniques such as no tilling, planting cover crops, rotational grazing, and natural fertilization through the free-roaming herd contribute to the farm’s overall sustainability. Additionally, Omeat’s farm is strategically planted with nutrient-rich grasses to ensure optimal nutrition for the herd. The farm’s design also facilitates rainwater collection, with each acre holding approximately 30,000 gallons of water, minimizing runoff and the need for additional watering.
Recognizing the importance of animal welfare, Omeat has partnered with leading animal-welfare scientist Dr. Kristina Horback of UC Davis to ensure the well-being of its herd. Together, they have developed processes for collecting plasma, a nutrient-rich fluid that serves as the source for Omeat’s proprietary growth media. By utilizing positive reinforcement techniques and prioritizing holistic animal care, Omeat ensures that the collection process is non-depleting and promotes the animals’ overall health. Similar to plasma donation in humans, the cows’ plasma regenerates quickly, allowing for sustainable and ongoing cultivation.
One of the advantages of Omeat’s approach is its ability to produce meat at scale while significantly reducing the number of animals required. By collecting plasma from one cow weekly, Omeat can cultivate a volume of meat equivalent to that of many cows over a year. This streamlined process allows Omeat to feed a growing global population’s demand for meat with a fraction of the animals typically used in traditional beef production. The company envisions itself as a bridge to the future of the meat industry, aiming to perfect a sustainable operation that existing farms and ranches can adopt to generate the same volume of meat with significantly lower overhead costs.
Omeat initially chose to focus on beef due to its substantial land and water footprint, which poses significant environmental and climate challenges. Additionally, research conducted by the Good Food Institute highlighted ground beef as the cultivated meat variety that garners the highest consumer interest.
In terms of funding and support, Omeat successfully raised an oversubscribed $40 million Series A round in 2022. Notable investors include S2G Ventures, Google Ventures (GV), Bold Capital Partners, Tyson Ventures, Rethink Food, Trailhead Capital, and Cavallo Ventures. The company is utilizing these funds to build a pilot plant and expand its team, furthering its progress toward commercial readiness. Simultaneously, Omeat is engaging in direct conversations with regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to obtain necessary approvals.
Omeat’s mission to combine the best of science and nature to provide consumers with meat that is sustainable, humane, and delicious exemplifies its commitment to positive impact. Founded by Dr. Ali Khademhosseini and backed by a team of dedicated professionals, Omeat is leading the way in transforming the meat industry.