The Top 4 Lab-grown Meat Stocks: How To Invest in Cultured Meat

Real meat is getting a bad rap. Environmentalists worry about methane emissions from cows, animal lovers worry about the animals. Yet plant-based alternatives made from soy or peas leave a lot to be desired. Multiple startups claim that they can grow real meat from cells in labs. Is that just hype or should you find a way to get involved? Keep reading to learn more.

Ben Carson   Updated February 9th, 2022

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What is lab-grown or cultured meat?

Not everyone likes plant-based meat alternatives. Despite the success of Impossible Burgers and Beyond Beef, plant-based beef just doesn’t taste like 100% meat to everybody. Further, consumers have complained about GMOs, processing, additives, and long ingredient lists. Heme, the soy-based, genetically modified ingredient that makes Impossible Burgers taste meat-like, is not even allowed in China or the European Union.

Enter clean, lab-grown meats. These meats are grown from harvested animal cells in labs; no animals are killed in the process. In contrast, real cows emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and animal pasture has been linked to deforestation in the Amazon. According to some estimates, livestock are responsible for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, quite a big number.

How is cultivated meat grown? Scientists take a muscle sample from an animal (which remains unharmed), collect stem cells, and feed them nutrients. Well-fed, cells grow and multiply in a lab setting. The specific process varies from one developer to another.

Can you even buy lab-grown meat yet?

Not really. A restaurant in Singapore did serve cultured chicken from Eat Just, the startup behind JUST Egg, garnering some publicity.

Future Meat Technologies, an Israeli clean meat company, plans to bring lab-grown meat to the U.S. this year, but you may still need to wait a long time until you can buy clean meat at your local supermarket.

How much does lab-grown meat cost?

Lab-grown meat is much more expensive to produce than regular meat, but this should be expected. No production is at scale yet. Back in 2013, a lab-grown burger apparently cost $330,000. But in late 2021, Future Meats reported that it cost only $7.70 to produce a pound of grown chicken, down from $18 six months before that.

However, $7.70 is still expensive. According to government data, the average retail price of a pound of chicken breast in the U.S. was only $3.7 in December 2021. And that is after retailer markups and transportation cost.

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What companies are making lab-grown meat?

There are dozens of startups trying to grow meat from cells, most of them private. Here are the best-known clean meat startups:

  • Meatech (publicly listed), an Israel-based company that is 3D printing cultivated steaks
  • Mosa Meat, a Dutch startup growing cultured hamburgers
  • Upside Foods (formerly Memphis Meats), a Berkeley, California-based cultured meat startup
  • Future Meat Technologies, an Israeli biotech that’s already opened an industrial cultured meat facility
  • Finless Foods, a developer of cultured seafood
  • Meatable, a Dutch biotech that specializes in cultured pork
  • Eat Just, the maker of the popular egg substitute that has also developed lab-grown chicken

How to invest in lab-grown meat

Israel’s Meatech is the only lab-grown meat pure-play stock.

However, you can access some of the private companies through publicly traded investment vehicles. For example, Eat Beyond Global (EATBF) invested in East Just, and Agronomics (AGNMF) invested in Meatable. In fact, most companies on our lab-grown meat stock list are publicly traded investment vehicles that buy stakes in private startups.

Big meat players are also investing in cultured meat. Meat processor Tyson has invested in a few lab-grown meat companies as a hedge to their business, but they remain firmly tied to real meat, so it’s not a good way to bet on the future of food.

Publicly traded lab-grown meat companies

  • Meatech 3D Limited (MITC)
  • Agronomics Ltd (AGNMF)
  • Eat Beyond Global (EATBF)
  • Cult Food Science (CULT)

Read more about each company:

1. Meatech 3D Limited (MITC)

  • Market capitalization: $82 million
  • 1-year performance: -41%

Meatech is a Nasdaq-listed technology company growing 3D-printed meat in its labs in Israel and Belgium. In December 2021, the startup reported printing a 3.67 oz cultivated steak made up of real muscle and fat and without using any soy or pea protein. The company used a 3D bioprinting technology they developed in-house. They are focused on premium cuts like marbled steak but also seek to have cell lines for pork and chicken.

Meatech was established in 2019 and doesn’t yet generate revenue, so you are betting that its meat printing technology will be cost-effective and gain adoption. Meatech, which has an ADR listed in the U.S., has about $80 million in market cap.

2. Agronomics Ltd (AGNMF)

  • Market capitalization: £178 million
  • 1-year performance: 9%

Agronomics is a London, U.K.-based holding company with a portfolio of venture stage startups growing cell-based protein. Portfolio investments include:

  • Meatable, which grows cell-based pork and beef
  • BlueNalu, a developer of cell-cultured seafood
  • VitroLabs, a maker of cultivated leather
  • New Age Meats, a grower of cultivated pork
  • Solar Foods, which hopes to produce foods out of electricity and thin air (!)

Although this sounds super-interesting, Agronomics is a risky stock. It has a market cap of £178 million, but it generated only £10.6 million in 2021 revenues.

3. Eat Beyond Global (EATBF)

  • Market capitalization: 10.7 million CAD
  • 1-year performance: -85%

Vancouver, Canada-based Eat Beyond Global is a publicly traded investment company that invests in the future of food. Their portfolio includes cell-grown meat, food tech, plant-based protein, and other innovative companies. Although it’s not a pure-play lab-grown meat stock, they’ve invested in several cultured meat startups, such as:

  • Eat Just, Inc, the maker of popular egg substitute Just Egg and the company that produced cultured chicken served to diners in Singapore
  • Turtle Tree Labs, a biotech company that’s using cell-based technology to create sustainable food and dairy
  • SingCell, a company building a scalable clean meat manufacturing platform in Singapore

These companies are private, so investing in Eat Beyond may be the only way for you to access these investments.

Yet, EATBF is super-risky as an investment. It has only 11 million CAD in market cap and no revenue to speak of. Like other no-revenue stocks, EATBF got beaten up a lot over the past year.

4. Cult Food Science (CULT)

  • Market capitalization: 35 million CAD
  • 1-year performance: 42%

Canada’s CULT is another publicly traded holding company that invests in food innovation. They are exclusively focused on cultivated meat, cultured dairy, and cell-based foods. They also hold a $1 million competition to incubate cell-based startups.

The investment portfolio includes multiple clean meat startups, including Eat Just and the above-mentioned Meatech 3D. They’ve also invested in MeliBio, which wants to make honey without bees; Jellatech, which seeks to produce animal-free collagen and gelatin; and Ohayo Valley Inc, which grows wagyu ribeyes. Needless to say, this micro-cap, pre-revenue stock is very speculative.

Note that CULT is listed in Canada, so you need a broker that lets you buy foreign shares.

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What are the risks of investing in lab-grown meat?

Not everyone is sold on cell-based meats. Here’s why.

1. Cultured meat technology remains unproven and untested

Lab-grown meat is yet to be commercialized. We just don’t know if it will taste and smell exactly like real meat. We also don’t know if lab-grown meat will resonate with consumers or not. Some may be repelled by the idea of vat-grown burgers even if they taste like real ones. It is strange to be eating something grown from cells in a lab.

Lab-grown meat will also need to be approved by the regulators, such as the FDA. And traditional meat producers will try to get lab-grown meat labeled as such.

2. Cultured meat will be more expensive, at least initially

Although the Good Food Institute projected that lab-grown meat will be cost-competitive with real meat by 2030, we also don’t know for sure. Another study has suggested that lab-grown meat will never be competitive.

Cultured meat is going to be more expensive than regular meat for some time. We don’t know exactly how much lab-grown meat suppliers will charge, and they probably don’t know themselves.

3. Cultured meat will face a lot of competition from cheaper plant-based substitutes (not to mention real meat)

Plant-based competition is way ahead on price. Besides, it is already widely available in supermarkets and chains like Starbucks and KFC. Plant-based substitutes don’t taste like the real thing, of course, but a lot of them taste pretty good.

4. The environmental benefits of lab-grown meat are being questioned

One study found that producing clean meat requires more energy than raising cows. Some researchers even suggested that the energy intensity of the growing process could make climate change worse. The jury is out.

NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE. The content is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as investment advice.

🔔 Looking to invest in food innovation? Learn about investing in plant-based food ETFs or vegan stocks.

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