Novel Farms, Inc. (the Company), a food technology startup based in Berkeley, California, unveils today the first-ever marbled cultivated pork loin.
Cultivated meat is poised to help relieve the strain on our food system by providing a supply of animal protein while offering human health, environmental, and animal welfare benefits. While the vast majority of cultivated meat companies focus on making sausages or burgers, producing meat that mimics conventional meat cuts is currently extremely difficult — only a handful of companies in the world have been able to showcase pork or beef structured prototypes. Novel Farms now joins this select group by creating a cultivated pork loin that displays the marbling and texture of a real muscle cut.
Novel Farms solves the structuring problem by developing a proprietary microbial fermentation approach to produce low-cost, edible, and highly customizable scaffolds. Their tissue development platform gives them an important and unique advantage by not only providing them with the capability to structure meat from any animal species but also doing it in a very cost-effective way. While scaffolding biomaterials such as alginate need to undergo costly functionalization to ensure effective cell attachment, their scaffolding process completely bypasses this step, reducing production costs by 99.27% and thus accelerating the path to the commercialization of their products at price parity.
The founder team, Nieves Martinez Marshall, PhD, and Michelle Lu, PhD, met while working as postdoctoral scientists in the Molecular and Cell Biology department at the University of California at Berkeley prior to launching the company in 2020. Their combined experience of over 30 years in research was key in the ideation of an elegant and unique structuring approach for producing cultivated meat, which has been awarded a highly competitive grant from the National Science Foundation through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program (phase I) in 2021.
“Our goal is to accelerate the widespread adoption of cultivated meat and its benefits by producing ‘hard-to-resist’ whole muscle cuts,” said Nieves Martinez Marshall. “Therefore, we need to be able to fulfill consumer demand by delivering cultivated meat with the same fibrous texture and mouthfeel as conventional cuts from an animal.”
Novel Farms has raised US$1.4 million in a pre-seed round with participation of Big Idea Ventures, Joyance, Social Starts, Sustainable Food Ventures, Good Startup, CULT foods and strategic angel investors.
"We have worked with Novel Farms from their earliest days and are excited about what they have accomplished in the cultivated meat category. They have always tackled the scale-up challenges with fresh and novel approaches and Big Idea Ventures is glad to support them throughout their journey as true innovation leaders. Novel Farms are ones to watch, support and partner with as they bring sustainable protein to the world market, said Andrew D. Ive, Managing General Partner for Big Idea Ventures.
About Novel Farms
Novel Farms is dedicated to craft whole cuts of cultivated meat delicacies and bring culinary excellence and sustainability into the future of food. By cultivating meat from conventional as well as highly prized animal breeds, they seek to captivate the palates of all meat lovers while satisfying environmentally-conscious eaters.
Novel Farms, Inc.
Nieves Martinez Marshall, CEO