Melbourne was the site of food history this week, with the unveiling of a chilli pork wonton that was both “remarkable, and unremarkable”. Remarkable because it showcased what is possible in the near future of food production; and also unremarkable, because it was a chilli pork wonton that looked, smelt and tasted like the kind of chilli pork wonton that you would order at your favourite Sichuan restaurant. Except these pork wontons were made from cultivated pork, the latest cultivated meat product launched by Melbourne cultivated meat start-up Magic Valley.
At the intimate tasting event, which Food Frontier attended, Magic Valley showcased its latest product while CEO Paul Bevan spoke to the start-up’s expansion and fundraising plans. Magic Valley is aiming to raise $5 million in its next funding round and with it, build two 20,000L bioreactors to help scale up production in a pilot facility.
Bevan explained that due to Magic Valley’s unique process, reaching price parity with conventional meat is only a matter of time. The current cost of Magic Valley’s cultivated pork is around $50 per kilo—the company is confident that they can reduce costs to $5 per kilo once economies of scale have been achieved.
“Our cultivated pork products provide the exact same flavour experience for consumers that enjoy traditionally farmed pork. It is an ethical and sustainable solution and at scale, our products will be much cheaper than traditional alternatives,” he said.
Fresh off the back of showcasing its ground-breaking cultivated lamb product in September of 2022, the start-up says it is working towards cultivating cells from all farmed animals, in its quest to ‘feed the masses’ with a safe and sustainable protein alternative.
“The global need for alternative proteins to meet the demands of the growing population is imperative, as we take that journey to achieving net-zero,” said Bevan.
“With both the need and desire for new forms of protein, and the global economic opportunity growing exponentially, our newest cultivated pork milestone puts Magic Valley in good stead to capture a sizable market share to feed future generations.”
Next on the menu for Magic Valley is a cultivated beef product, with the start-up working toward submitting a request for regulatory approval with FSANZ this year.
After tasting the cultivated chilli pork wonton, Food Frontier Head of Industry Engagement Susie O’Neill was enthusiastic about the potential for cultivated pork to help ensure food security in a sustainable manner. “With a taste profile and utility exactly the same as conventional minced pork, I can see cultivated pork becoming a key part of the protein diversification we will require to help feed our growing global population in coming years,” she said.
This week also saw another Australian cultivated meat company Vow, create a meatball out of cultivated woolly mammoth cells. The prototype was unveiled in the Netherlands as part of an initiative to highlight the link between large-scale livestock production, the destruction of wildlife and the climate crisis. In February this year Vow became the first company in Australia and New Zealand to lodge an application to Food Standards Australia New Zealand for approval to permit an ingredient made from cultivated meat.
READ MORE: Magic Valley introducing premium cultivated pork made without harming animals [Food & Beverage Industry News]