meat without harm: the world’s first hybrid meat innovation centre launches in SG this 2023.

Dutch company Meatable partners with plant-based butcher Love Handle to establish the first-ever meat innovation centre to create “meat without harm”. 


Following Singapore’s approval of cultivated meat as part of the 30 by 30 strategy that strives to produce 30% of our nutritional needs locally and sustainably by 2030, it is no surprise that the country has become the centre of the alternate meat industry. In an effort to further support the alternative protein sector through innovation, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) brought together Meatable and Love Handle to set up the world’s first hybrid meat innovation centre. 

Sharing the same vision of creating products that satisfy the growing global demand for meat without harming the environment, the two partners intend to collaborate on the development of hybrid meat products. Here, they will use both cultivated meat and plant-based materials to develop food items indistinguishable from real meat. 

but first, what exactly are plant-based meats? 

As the name suggests, plant-based meats are “meat” made directly from non-animal, plant-based sources like soy. Multiple studies have found them to be better for the environment due to the lesser amount of resources it consumes, one of the many reasons explaining the global increase in popularity as forecasted for the market. Popular chains like Burger King and Stuff’d have also started to offer plant-based options alongside their traditional meat-based products.

This is where Love Handle comes in. Established in 2020, they are the first plant-based butcher here in Asia, striving to give meat lovers the option to enjoy both the big meaty flavours and succulent textures they adore, and be good to the planet at the same time. And just like at the butcher, they even offer an authentic cut, weigh, and package experience. Offering products like pastrami, chicken breast, chicken satay, beef steak, and sausages – all items you traditionally see in the deli section of the supermarket – this time however, they are instead made out of ingredients ranging from mushrooms to jackfruits.

Co-founder and CEO of Love Handle, Ken Kuguru, highlights how “the new innovation centre we’re setting up with Meatable will help us develop new hybrid and plant-based meat products as well as provide a space for existing plant-based players to further drive innovation in the food industry.”

what about cultivated meats? 

Also known as cultured meat, the product is derived from the cells of a healthy living animal. Water and a nutrient-rich feed given to the sample allow it to multiply rapidly inside a cultivator, up until its desired size and characteristics. This process takes a mere 5 to 7 weeks, and does not involve the breeding, raising, and slaughtering of an animal that traditional meat products require – these are all processes that can exponentially increase the time taken to attain meat the conventional way. 

With the strong belief that cultivated meat will one day appear on supermarket shelves and restaurants alongside plant-based products, Meatable aims to reproduce the looks, taste, and nutritional profile of traditional meat in their protein alternatives with their team of experts.   

Krijn de Nood, co-founder and CEO of Meatable, explains the partnership: “Together, we’re going to spearhead the development of hybrid products for the Singapore and global markets and help foster innovation among other alternative protein producers”. 

These new hybrid products will be developed with a cultivated meat-led approach. It makes use of plant-based protein to optimise cultivated meat, including features like the familiar bite, taste, and texture that are considered essential to the eating experience. “Our vision is to satisfy the world’s growing appetite for meat without harming the environment, animals, or people,” elaborates Nood. The organisation also intends to invest over $60 million and employ more than 50 people locally over the next five years in its commitment to drive the growth of the industry and expand in Singapore.

the first ever Future of Meat Innovation Centre.

Called the Future of Meat innovation centre, this is the first kitchen and innovation lab dedicated solely to developing world-class hybrid alternative protein products. Top-of-the-line equipment like high-end blenders, mixers, and emulsification equipment will be made available to drive developments regarding cell and alternative protein innovations. Besides that, high moisture extrusion equipment and industrial texture and taste analyzers will also help in the optimization of recipes and small-scale production, enabling the end product to taste even closer to the real deal. 

“We know that taste is the key distinguisher for consumers when it comes to eating meat.” acknowledges Caroline Wilschut, Chief Commercial Officer of Meatable, “By combining our expertise in cultivated meat with the proficiency Love Handle has developed in plant-based meat, we can bring something truly new and innovative to the market.”  

This collaboration means the commercialization of hybrid products, producing a wide variety of foodstuffs like dumplings, pulled pork, pork belly, meatballs, cold cuts, and patties. Luckily for us, they will be available in local restaurants as early as 2024 and supermarkets in 2025.

Don’t want to wait until then? Consumers can also go down and visit the experience centre which will host tastings for customers to savour the products on the spot when it opens in 2023. There will also be a retail space for you to buy products back home, providing the opportunity to share the taste of plant-based products with family and friends.

Considering Singapore’s small land size and reliance on imports, alongside the various environmental and geopolitical uncertainties of the future, it is more important than ever to explore the different options for food provision – which is why Love Handle’s “meat without harm” might just be the next step into self-sustainability!

Check out Love Handle and Meatable on Facebook and Instagram for updates regarding the Future of Meat Innovation Centre. 


Enjoyed this article? Check out these 17 restaurants with sustainable, wildlife-inspired food in Singapore, or check out Singapore’s marine life up close here!

raeanne

The copywriting intern who likes spending way too much of her free time looking for small trinkets and watching two hour long youtube video essays.

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