If Israel wants to continue to play an important role in the food tech sector in the years to come, it will require a national policy to assist its expanding industry and new food tech entrepreneurs.
GFI Israel, a non-profit organization that aims to encourage research and innovation in the food business, and consultancy conglomerate EY, put together a report in October that found 40 percent of investments globally in the cultured meat sector in 2021, which is a big deal for Israel.
Approximately 23% of all greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to the current meat production business, which is examined in this report, as is the expanding global scramble to secure food supplies and produce more long-lasting food sources. Israel’s food security and strategic national asset status may both be enhanced by a thriving indigenous food technology business.
As of 2030, the worldwide market value of meat replacements is predicted to reach $140 billion and account for 10% of the overall meat industry, according to the Barclays Group.
According to Nir Goldstein, general director of GFI Israel, the way we’ve been producing meat is unsustainable, and new technologies like cultured meat, plant-based proteins, and fermentation processes are seeking to solve this.
A wide range of foodstuff-related businesses has set up shop in Israel recently, including more than 400 firms working in the fields of food science and technology. Insect proteins, cultured dairy, meat, and shellfish, as well as plant-based meat, dairy, and egg alternatives, are all included in this category.
The fastest growing technology industry in Israel, food technology, was pioneered by researchers with a strong basis to establish such enterprises. Currently, there are roughly 35 active university laboratories where academics are focusing on similar technologies.
Based on bioengineering research, Professor Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Professor Yaakov Nahmias of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem co-founded Israeli cultured meat enterprises Aleph Farms and Future Meat. Both professors are well-known in the field of tissue engineering.
After its establishment in 2017, Aleph Farm was able to produce its first lab-grown beef in 2018 and its first cultured ribeye in 2021. Over $118 million has been invested in the company thus far, including cash provided by private equity firms such L Catterton and DisruptAD of Abu Dhabi Holding Company (ADQ), as well as a global food and meat conglomerate that includes Thai Union, BRF, and CJ CheilJedang (Korea).
It was the largest single investment in a firm producing cultured meat to date when Future Meat received a $347 million fundraising round co-led by Archer-Daniels-Midland, the Chicago-based food conglomerate that owns Archer Daniels Midland. Tyson Foods, the world’s second-largest meat processor and marketer, also took part in the round.
GFI predicted that investments in Israeli alternative protein firms will reach $800 million in 2021 (up from $114 million in 2020 and $45 million in 2019) and that investments in the industry might reach up to $1.5 billion in 2022.
According to Goldstein, “Israel is in a global position for food tech.” The first country to allow the sale of artificial chicken to consumers will be Singapore in December 2020. However, nations like Canada, India, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Denmark are already committing huge funds to national food technology initiatives. “It will need a national plan” if Israel wants to maintain its position at the top of the world.
According to the GFI-EY report, a total of NIS 1.4 billion ($450 million) is required over the next ten years to support the local industry through multidisciplinary research centers, technology transfer programs (from university labs to industry), grants, and training, with an additional NIS 230 million ($74 million) needed to build specific innovation hubs for cultivated plant-based proteins, meat, and fermentation technologies.
As much as 56% of this money, or around NIS 900 million, should come from the Israeli government, while the balance, according to the analysis, should come from private investments both in Israel and overseas. The researchers predicted that the government might earn NIS 26 billion ($8.4 billion) in tax income through the development of new food tech enterprises, the creation of thousands of employees, probable acquisitions, and food tech exports.
The government has a vested interest in elevating Israel to the position of a global industry leader. The Israel Innovation Authority, a government body, recently announced that it will allocate NIS 220 million ($69 million) for four new consortiums to spearhead the development and advancement of new industries, including cultured meat, but “we need a long-term plan,” Goldstein added.
A shortage of researchers is urgently needed. Food tech industry facilitators and industry experts are required for real-time implementation because the area is developed around academic research, which requires government or investor support.
As a result of Israel’s reliance on exports, its food is expensive. The capacity to produce for local consumption and export to other nations can be achieved by the use of different proteins,”
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