SPRINGDALE, Ark. – Tyson Ventures, Tyson Foods Inc.’s venture capital division is a part of a group of investors in $2.2 million seed investment in Future Meat Technologies, a Jerusalem, Israel-based biotechnology company specializing in the development of non-GMO cultured meat production derived from animal cells.

Other participants in the investment round included the Israel-based food conglomerate, Neto Group; BitsXBites, a food technology-focused venture capital firm based in China; Agrinnovation, an Israel-based investment fund founded by Yissum, the Technology Transfer Co. of The Hebrew Univ.; and the New York-based investment company, HB Ventures LLC.

According to the company, Future Meat focuses on developing a new generation of cost-efficient production of cultured meat that previously cost thousands of dollars per pound and therefore not currently feasible. According to Yaakov Nahmias, Ph.D., the company’s founder, the latest technology will enable the production of products at a fraction of the cost associated with cultured meat manufacturing. 

“It is difficult to imagine cultured meat becoming a reality with a current production price of about $10,000 per kilogram,” he said. “We redesigned the manufacturing process until we brought it down to $800 per kilogram today, with a clear roadmap to $5-10 per kg by 2020.” 

Earlier this year, Tyson Ventures announced an investment of $13 million for 5 percent ownership stake in another cultured meat start-up, Memphis Meats. The company also invested in the plant-based protein company, Beyond Meat.

“This is our first investment in an Israel-based company and we’re excited about this opportunity to broaden our exposure to innovative, new ways of producing protein,” said Justin Whitmore, Tyson’s executive vice president of corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer. “We continue to invest significantly in our traditional meat business but also believe in exploring additional opportunities for growth that give consumers more choices.” 

Future Meat officials plan to use the funds raised to invest in engineering activities and increase its biological research as demand for meat products continues to grow. 

“Global demand for protein and meat is growing at a rapid pace, with an estimated worldwide market of more than a trillion dollars, including explosive growth in China. We believe that making a healthy, non-GMO product that can meet this demand is an essential part of our mission,” said Rom Kshuk, CEO of Future Meat Technologies.