CEO Statements: Cultivated Meat & Novel Proteins – Threat or Beacon of Hope?

In the seventh part of our series “CEO Statements: What Excites, Moves, Motivates”, in which vegconomist’s German platform regularly interviews CEOs on current topics, we spoke to Fabian Baumann, founder of CellAg Germany; Dr Susanne Leonhartsberger, head of WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS; Florentine Zieglowski, co-founder of RESPECTfarms; and Eugenia Sagué, CEO and co-founder of Cultimate Foods.

Each of these companies is developing novel food innovations with which they want to help shape the future of the food industry.

The debate surrounding cultivated meat is wide-ranging and is often fuelled by positive expectations. Above all, the potential environmental benefits take centre stage: compared to conventional livestock farming, cultured meat could consume significantly fewer resources and cause lower greenhouse gas emissions. It also opens up the possibility of reducing the need for agricultural land and thus minimising biodiversity loss.

Sustainable enjoyment without sacrifice

CellAg Deutschland
© CellAg Deutschland e.V.

CellAg Deutschland e.V. is a platform for cellular agriculture in German-speaking countries. The independent and non-profit organisation informs and networks people and interest groups from science, politics, business and NGOs. CellAg Deutschland aims to provide independent information about the potential and risks of the new industry and promote the ecosystem through specific offers such as a job portal or networking events. In this way, the association aims to make a decisive contribution to promoting the alternative production method of cell-based animal products and the economic sector based on it.

Fabian Baumann, the founder of CellAg Germany, sees clear efficiency and sustainability benefits in relation to food production through cellular agriculture. He says: “Cultured meat and precision fermentation are signalling a paradigm shift in the food industry. Their potentially significant efficiency advantage over the conventional animal-based route promises significantly more sustainability. Ultimately, however, it is the consumer’s palate that counts alongside the price. This is precisely where the great opportunity lies: real enjoyment without sacrifice.”

Affordable solutions are needed

 Wacker Chemie
© Wacker Chemie AG

WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS is part of the globally active WACKER Group. Through BIOSOLUTIONS, WACKER offers customised solutions and products for the food industry, among other things. In the production of cultured meat, WACKER sees itself as a reliable supplier of high-quality ingredients for the cell culture medium. In addition to the proteins required for cell growth, the company’s portfolio of plant-based cyclodextrins, marketed under the name CAVAMAX®, also includes solutions that allow customers to significantly reduce their production costs. WACKER operates one of Europe’s largest fermentation plants in León, Spain, where it produces high-quality ingredients for the food industry.

Dr Susanne Leonhartsberger, head of WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS, comments: “We believe that alternative proteins, whether plant-based or cultured, will be important pillars of sustainable food production. For consumers to accept them as a real alternative to conventional products, texture, flavour and price must be comparable. With our solutions, we are helping to achieve these goals. However, it will still take some time until then.”

The people are ready – now we all have to get to work

 Ada Magdalena Drazek
© Ada Magdalena Drazek

RESPECTfarms is an international foundation with activities in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland. The vision of RESPECTfarms is to develop new business models for conventional agriculture using the promising technology of cellular agriculture. RESPECTfarms acts as a system integrator of these technologies on the farm. The idea of decentralised cultured meat production on farms stems from the results of the world’s first consortium in the field of cellular agriculture, funded by the Dutch government.

Florentine Zieglowski, co-founder of RESPECTfarms, sees protein products from cellular agriculture not just as a trend, but as the future of the food industry: “New proteins, such as those from cell cultivation or precision fermentation, can not only be a complementary strategy for global protein demand, they must complement it. The willingness to consume these proteins will continue to increase. We are already at 30-55 % readiness, which goes far beyond the “innovators” or “early adopters”. These novel proteins have long since arrived at the centre of our society. Consumers want them, we just can’t deliver them yet.”

The next stage of human evolution

 Cultimate Foods
© Cultimate Foods

The German startup Cultimate Foods, based in Berlin’s Biocube and Hanover, is an innovative company focussing on the production of cell-cultivated ingredients for plant-based meat products. The start-up has developed an innovative alternative to animal fat that is designed to give plant-based meat products an authentic flavour and texture. By utilising modern cellular agriculture technologies, Cultimate Foods produces real fat cells without animal suffering. The aim is to improve the flavour and aroma of plant-based meat products so that they can compete with traditional meat.

Eugenia Sagué, co-founder and managing director of Cultimate Foods, believes that there is still some catching up to do in terms of educating consumers about cultured food products. She says: “Science can help meet the global demand for protein sources. However, it is human nature to perceive novelty as a threat. The nutrition transition will therefore not happen overnight. Transparency and continuous education about the production processes will convince consumers. In future, no living beings will have to be sacrificed for food. This could be considered the next evolutionary step and inspire many.”

Do you also have a topic that concerns you? Then write vegency an e-mail or give them a call: Meike Koch & Nina Sturm, vegency:, Tel.: 030-789076-0

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