Czech firm Bene Meat gets EU approval for lab-grown pet food

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Czech-based company Bene Meat Technologies has achieved a significant milestone in the field of lab-grown meat, gaining approval from the European Union to produce cultivated meat for pet food consumption. This authorisation marks a pioneering advancement within the industry, allowing the company to focus on the production of meat for cats and dogs in the global pet food market.

With the intention to significantly increase output, the company plans to scale up production to potentially yield several metric tons per day by the following year.

The venture into lab-grown meat for pet food aligns with a global trend where various companies are racing to develop commercially viable alternatives to traditional meat and fish products. This surge in innovation is largely driven by consumer concerns regarding ethical issues and the environmental impact associated with conventional livestock farming, a sector contributing substantially to greenhouse gas emissions.

“Today we have become the first company globally that has an official authorisation for the production and sale of cultivated meat for cats and dogs,” Roman Kriz, the Managing Director of Bene Meat, told Reuters.

This certification, acquired through the European Feed Materials Register, signifies a pivotal step forward for the firm in entering the pet food market with its cultivated meat product.

Kriz further outlined the company’s aspirations to not only meet the necessary regulatory standards but also to provide a commercially viable product in terms of pricing. He emphasised that the costs incurred by Bene Meat would enable the final products to be competitively priced, aligning with the levels seen in premium and super-premium pet food products available in the market.

Bene Meat’s strategic plans involve not only scaling up production but also conducting taste tests on animals to ensure palatability and suitability for consumption. The current production scale, estimated in kilograms per day, is expected to grow significantly in the coming year, with projections reaching hundreds of kilograms to potentially several tonnes produced daily. These developments signify a considerable leap forward in the company’s journey since its establishment in 2020, owned by the Czech medical devices producer BTL group.

While focusing on pet food, the firm has not ruled out its initial aim of providing lab-grown meat for human consumption. Kriz stated that Bene Meat, like other players in the industry, uses cells from live animals, which are cultivated in a bioreactor sustained by a nutrient supply. This method not only addresses ethical and environmental concerns but also ensures a controlled and monitored production process, offering a level of assurance that is often absent in conventional livestock farming.

Bene Meat is actively engaged in discussions with various pet food manufacturers for potential collaborations in supplying cultivated meat. The company aims to explore the possibility of establishing production lines at the partners’ existing facilities while also planning the development of its brand of final pet food products. This aligns with their broader vision to collaborate and innovate within the pet food industry.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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