Israeli firm working to save the planet - but with chicken soup still on the table

Among those featured at the UK Israel Business (UKIB) Innovate ’19 conference was one biotech company on the brink of providing affordable lab-grown meat


The future of the planet may depend on us giving up meat – but an Israeli start-up is working night and day so that we never have to say goodbye to mum’s chicken soup.

Among the firms featured at Wednesday’s UK Israel Business (UKIB) Innovate ’19 conference was Future Meat Technologies, which “aims to transform global meat production” by artificially creating fat and muscle cells in a lab.

The firm’s owner, Professor Yaakov Nahmias, told the audience: “We have reached our capacity for food production. For every 10,000 vegetarians, we have half a million people become carnivores in India and China.

“There is just one major problem [with meat substitutes]: they don’t smell like meat and they don’t taste like meat.”

Through its “cutting-edge cellular agriculture”, Future Meat Technologies is attempting to cut the cost of artificial meat – which it says it has cut to approximately $20 per kilogram, still roughly ten times as much as farming of real animals.

UKIB, the bilateral chamber of commerce between the two countries, also hosted a discussion of the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to instantly scan images of household items to direct shoppers to a myriad of identical items online.

Susan Aubrey-Cound, of visual solutions firm, said: “Fifty-nine per cent of consumers think that visual information is more important than textual information.”

Tal Shmueli of also discussed lifelong learning and skills-building, while Run Almog, the senior vice-president of InfiBond, gave attendees a glimpse of a future of increasing “singularity” between man and machine.

Other speakers included Alan Feld, the managing partner of Vintage Investment Partners; Gal Hochberg, of Clear Blockchain Technologies; Meirav Peled, of Riskified; and Prof Ronen Feldman, the co-founder of Amenity Analytics.

Wednesday’s conference, sponsored by LabTech, followed UKIB’s Business Awards Summer Reception at Millbank Tower on Tuesday evening.

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