Meatly unveils the world's first cultivated chicken pet food

Meatly has teamed up with pet food company Omni to create the first wet cat food containing lab-grown chicken.
Meatly unveils the world's first cultivated chicken pet food

Today, cell-cultivated meat company Meatly announced that it has created the world’s first cans of pet food containing cultivated chicken as the protein source. 

Meatly aims to become the first company in the world to sell cultivated meat for pets and the first to gain regulatory approval and sell cultivated meat-based products in the UK and Europe. 

Meatly produces cultivated chicken and has raised £3.6 million in investment to date. Its team of in-house scientists and experts has developed cultivated meat that uses a single sample of cells extracted from a chicken egg to grow high-quality, GMO-free, and antibiotic-free real chicken meat. 

Much like making yoghurt or beer, Meatly nurtures its cells in a container that controls temperature and pH balance. This involves Meatly providing the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that the cells need—the same nutrients animals get from eating grass and other types of healthy roughage—to grow until they become delicious meat. 

When the meat is ready, Meatly works with innovative pet food manufacturers, like Omni, to make delicious and nutritious pet meals. 

Its product was created in collaboration with its first brand partner, Omni, a fast-growing novel protein pet food company in the UK founded by veterinarian Dr Guy Sandelowsky. 

Founded in 2022, Meatly has been working with the UK’s Food Standards Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to obtain approval for its cultivated chicken pet food to be sold in the UK. 

Cell-cultivated foods face significant regulatory hurdles 

In November last year, cell-cultivated meat company Bene Meat Technologies (BMT) became the first company to be granted European Union certification in the European Feed Materials Register for laboratory-grown meat for use in pet food.

This gives the company the green light to develop its product further, scale up production, and make the product available to shoppers. 

Cell-cultivated products have been challenged by regulatory delays as an industry. Some countries, such as Italy and Romania, have banned the sale of cell-cultivated meat for human consumption. I regularly get correspondence from lobbyists in opposition, many of whom have links to farming industries.

A partnership with Omni solves the challenges of scale

Meatly’s brand partner Omni already sells dog food crafted from pulse, algae, and yeast protein. Cell-cultivated meat will be used to make canned wet food for cats. 

Meatly can access a manufacturing infrastructure ready to produce delicious pet food at a scale— one of the biggest challenges facing novel foods such as cell-cultivated meat and mycelium. This will enable the company to meet the growing consumer demand for sustainable pet food.

22 per cent of the meat currently consumed in the UK is consumed by pets, representing a significant amount of GHG emissions. 

Meatly addresses this by producing sustainable, tasty and nutritious meat whilst reducing our reliance on industrial agriculture. 

Image: Owen Ensor, Co-founder and CEO of Meatly, with cats. Credit: Harriet Constable.

Owen Ensor, Co-founder and CEO of Meatly, said: 

“It is incredibly exciting to see the first ever cans of cultivated pet food fly off the production line. This is a major milestone for cultivated meat globally and shows that we are ready to sell the product.” 

“As demand continues to grow, with pet food already accounting for 20% of meat produced globally, so does the industry’s environmental impact.

Cultivated meat gives pet parents an easy choice - high-quality, tasty, nutritious, and sustainable pet food. We’re thrilled to work with innovative companies like Omni to make this a reality as soon as possible.” 

Dr Guy Sandelowsky at Omni added: 

“Meatly’s ingredient is fascinating to us at Omni, not only because it represents a virtually infinite, cruelty-free source of meat but also because it can be optimised for health. 

This means more essential vitamins, minerals, and omegas and eliminating the troublesome components found in traditional meat, such as antibiotic residues. We see the ingredient of particular importance to the cat food market, which currently lacks credible alternative protein solutions.” 

As an early investor in Meatly, Pets at Homeplans will be the first retailer to offer these products in its stores. 

David Wainwright, Commercial Director at Pets at Home, said: 

“We are excited to be a part of Meatly’s journey and look forward to being the first retailer to offer their products in our pet care centres.

While it is still early days, we are committed to helping drive change in the industry and finding sustainable alternatives to replace some of the protein used globally in pet food would be a major step forward.” 

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