UAE: Lab-grown meat capabilities to be explored in collaboration between AGWA, Believer Meats

The two will also work to establish halal certification standards for cultivated meat products in Abu Dhabi


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Photo: Reuters File. Image used for illustrative purposes
Photo: Reuters File. Image used for illustrative purposes

Published: Sat 15 Jun 2024, 8:20 PM

Last updated: Sat 15 Jun 2024, 9:40 PM

Cultivated meat capabilities in the UAE will be developed in a collaboration between AGWA (AgriFood Growth & Water Abundance), Abu Dhabi's new food and water cluster, and Believer Meats, a global leader in the cultivated meat industry.

Cultivated meat is produced in a lab, directly from animal cells. This eliminates the step of raising live animals for food.

With a growing consciousness on environment protection, and changing dietary habits, the collaboration will help in creating a reliable model for lab-grown meat to enter and expand in the region, and different markets.

AGWA will also work with Believer Meats to establish a regulatory pathway and halal certification standards for cultivated meat products in Abu Dhabi.

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AGWA seeks to lead advancements in areas like alternative proteins, functional ingredients, algae farming, and reverse osmosis membranes, while enhancing traditional food and water production and supply.

Believer Meats is focused on developing the world's most efficient and scalable cell-cultivation production technology to make safe, healthy, and delicious cultivated meat products.

The company is currently constructing the largest cultivated meat production facility in the world in North Carolina, USA, after its series B fundraise in 2021, which was supported by ADM, S2G Ventures and others. The factory will feature a state-of-the-art innovation centre and tasting kitchen, and is set to be operational by the end of 2024.

Along with AGWA's goal to lead global efforts in tackling food security and water scarcity, this collaboration could enable an increasing presence for Believer Meats in the MENA region.

Believer Meats will pursue establishing regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi that can support commercial operations for product manufacturing, and research and development, bringing job opportunities and industry-leading capabilities.

Badr Al-Olama, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), said, "When Abu Dhabi established AGWA, it sought to attract the greatest innovators in food and water. Our partnership with Believer Meats is a firm example of this objective coming to life. A base of operations in Abu Dhabi would enable Believer Meats to bring the very best innovations and products in cultivated meats to the entire region with speed and safety, radically changing the dependency on imported food to the region."

Gustavo Burger, CEO of Believer Meats, said, "Partnering with AGWA represents a significant step forward in our mission to create a global powerhouse of cultivated meat solutions bringing products to new strategic markets. This collaboration will not only enable us to expand our operations, but also aligns perfectly with our vision of creating a sustainable and more resilient global food system."

Led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), AGWA is meticulously designed to support local suppliers and exporters alike, serving as a platform to maximise commercial opportunities.

By 2045, AGWA is expected to contribute Dh90 billion in incremental GDP to Abu Dhabi's economy, create 60,000+ new jobs, and attract Dh128 billion in investments.


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