The new process could make plant-based chicken nuggets as affordable as the meat version
Spotted: With the United States approving commercial sales of lab-grown chicken, the country joins Singapore as the world’s first two nations where cell-cultured food is available. The main drawback to accessing this new food category is its cost, which is so high that the two companies approved to sell the new type of chicken in the States will be supplying high-end West Coast restaurants rather than grocery stores.
Plant-based meat alternatives also face the challenge of high costs of production, which often makes the products too expensive for consumers to buy regularly. Having realised that most plant-based meats use off-the-shelf manufacturing equipment, former aerospace engineer Christie Lagally put her expertise to work to improve the efficiency of the production process.
Lagally is the founder of Rebellyous Foods, a foodtech company creating vegan chicken and developing automated plant-protein meat manufacturing systems and processes. The patented technology cleans up the manufacturing processes, reducing inefficiencies and manual processes and replacing them with smart automation systems designed specifically for the task at hand.
The company’s chicken is available as tenders, patties, and nuggets, and the system – called Mock Two – is designed specifically to produce those sizes and shapes. Because much of it is automated, the new production process can run continuously, making it possible to increase the volume of output without a parallel rise in labour and machine costs.
Once at industrial scale levels of production, Rebellyous Foods’ manufacturing technology could produce enough plant-based chicken to make products competitive with animal meat versions. Investors recognising the significance that the technology could have on the global market for healthier proteins recently contributed $9.5 million (around €8.6 million) in an equity round of funding.
Written By: Keely Khoury