MeaTech’s acquisition of Belgium-based Peace of Meat (POM) was announced in December 2020, but COVID-19 travel restrictions and lockdowns kept the executive teams of the two companies from meeting in person until earlier this month. When we finally caught up with our POM colleagues, we toured their new lab facilities, met the team responsible for their technology breakthroughs, and enjoyed the products of their successes in taste tests.
From the beginning, our work with POM felt right. Our technologies complement each other rather than compete, and both companies are working toward a more sustainable future for our planet and ourselves. POM’s cultivated meat technology cultivates avian (chicken) cells from a small sample of cells. These cultivated cells can be differentiated into fat tissue and thus used to enhance the taste of plant-based protein products. The technology’s first expected application is in hybrid food products, combining plant-based protein with cultivated animal fat, designed to provide plant-based meat alternatives with qualities of “meatiness” (taste and texture) closer to that of conventional meat products.
Participating in the trip from the MeaTech team were, Guy Hefer, CFO, Nir Shani, Director of Biology, and Avraham Hampel, VP of Corporate Development, and me. From the POM side, we met with Dirk von Heinrichshorst, CEO & Co-Founder, David Brandes, Managing Director & Co-Founder, and Professor Paul Mozdiak, Chief Scientific Officer and the rest of POM team. In our formal sessions, we worked on integrating and optimizing our joint workflows, defined commercial and business targets, and ensuring the POM team is fully integrated into the MeaTech Group’s strategy. In less formal sessions, we conducted team building exercises and enjoyed group dinners.
We’re back in Israel now, and our team cannot stop talking about the pace, quality, and efficiency of POM’s R&D efforts. Every bit of the visit was memorable, but perhaps the most compelling moments were when we saw, smelled and tasted the cultivated fat. We all knew it would taste great – it’s real chicken fat after all — but in the backs of our minds we each thought we might detect slight differences from farm-raised products. We were wrong.
It was simply extraordinary how very ordinary the cultivated chicken fat tastes. It is indistinguishable from farm raised. That’s our goal with all our cultivated products, and the POM team is truly hitting a home run for us.