Lifting Restrictions, Lifting Spirits, and Planning Ahead
By Avraham Hampel, VP of Corporate Development, Steakholder Foods, formerly MeaTech 3D, Ltd.
Steakholder Foods, formerly MeaTech 3D, Trip to POM Facility
Part 1 of this blog series outlined the Steakholder Foods, formerly MeaTech 3D, executive team’s trip to the Peace of Meat (POM) facility in Belgium. COVID-19 restrictions had long delayed us from meeting our colleagues face-to-face for the first time, so it was no coincidence that our visit coincided with the long-awaited lifting of restrictions of Belgium.
As we entered Antwerp, the sun was shining, and people were everywhere — filling the sidewalks, cafes, and restaurants. The happiness was palpable, and our Israeli contingent felt privileged to be in Belgium at that moment. While at the POM facilities, we toured the labs, met the science team, and tasted the chicken fat they’ve been cultivating to be a perfect ingredient for making fully plant-based foods taste more like their real meat counterparts. We had opportunities to experience the region’s Jewish community and culture as well.
On the business side, the visit helped our head office team better understand the challenges and needs of our Belgian colleagues. Together, we built the market vision for POM’s avian cell technology – identifying potential customers and companies that might become partners, examining how we might enhance business relationships, and more. We are confident that the roadmap we defined and refined will help us realize our goal of making the hybrid products developed in our Belgian labs important ingredients in foods of all sorts in the future.
In Belgium, POM already is viewed as a food-tech superstar. Government officials are enthusiastic about POM and Belgium becoming a hub for cultivated meat products. In fact, representatives of the Antwerp municipality and the Flanders government investment department made a point of joining our visit. They expressed their excitement at POM’s business development and we had productive discussions as to how they might best support our business endeavors. They are eager to create a highly supportive business environment for the Steakholder Foods, formerly MeaTech 3D, Group in their country. This support is very important, as a key challenge facing the cultivated meat industry is cost-efficient production.
Now that we’re back in Israel, we remain very encouraged that the first hybrid products based on Peace of Meat technology could reach the market as early as next year. This aligns with our plans for setting up and operating a pilot cultivated chicken fat manufacturing plant in Belgium by 2022.
Many thanks to our colleagues in Belgium for a wonderful visit. We look forward to many more.