From farm to petri dish: cell-based meat’s progress to market
Abstract: Sustainability, population dynamics and health issues are some of the greater challenges the global society faces today. Meat consumption has emerged as one of the reasons behind the cause and effect of these challenges. There is a growing consensus amongst researchers, industry stakeholders and decision-makers that there is a need to transition into more sustainable alternatives to meat. As a response, there has been an increase in food tech innovations in the last few years with cellular agriculture at the forefront. Cell-based meat has emerged as an innovative field that has the potential to provide a solution. Cell-based meat does face challenges of their own in need of resolving to commercialize and compete at a competitive price. Thus, what challenges the cell-based meat industry faces in the R&D phase were investigated through a multiple-case study. Emphasis is given to how strategic alliances and partnerships can aid in resolving these issues. Three cell-based meat companies were interviewed to shed light on the matter as well as an expert opinion. It was found that the industry faces challenges in three main categories: technical, regulatory and market challenges. Cell-based meat companies seek strategic partnerships and alliances to access resources and knowledge that help them overcome all challenges. However, how partnerships are formed and with whom depend on the imposed risks and uncertainties, in particular, to protect intellectual property and competitive advantage. In an early R&D phase, companies do not engage in collaboration with other cell-based meat companies, but rather seek collaboration with the traditional meat industry to access market knowledge and distribution networks. There is, however, a willingness to partner up with other cell-based meat companies to solve legal- political barriers, set industry standards, and build the foundation for the industry. Cell-based meat could eventually prove to become a benchmark for new food technologies that are driven by the vision to provide healthier, safer and more sustainable food alternatives.
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