Poultry giant Tyson is continuing its investments in the future of meat by getting involved with a lab-grown meat startup: Memphis Meats. Tyson’s involvement could mean that we get this so-called “clean meat” in stores a lot sooner than expected.
Photo courtesy of Memphis Meats
Memphis Meats made waves early last year when they debuted a piece of lab-grown fried chicken. Made without killing a single bird, muscle cells are instead extracted from an animal and grown on a medium that allows it to swiftly replicate into pieces of meat. Memphis Meats has also made “clean” beef meatballs and duck using their proprietary technology.
Tyson’s new minority stake in the startup shows their commitment to looking at new ways to produce meat or meat analogs. It also increases the sustainability image of the firm, as lab-grown meat can potentially decrease water/land usage and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent compared to traditional livestock raising.
Terms of the investment were not disclosed in the company’s press release, but Tyson now joins big names like Bill Gates, Cargill, and Richard Branson as minority owners in Memphis Meats.
Tyson has also recently injected more money into Beyond Meat, a plant-based burger company already taking hold in grocery stores across the nation. The chicken-producing empire owns more than 5 percent of Beyond Meat at this point.
For Memphis, Tyson’s new investment means the opportunity to accelerate product development. As of last year, the cultured meat company was hoping to have its meat in stores by 2021. The fresh injection of cash should accelerate that timeline, as Memphis is currently looking to expand its team to make that possible.