Higher Steaks is a London-based cellular agriculture startup founded in December 2017 that is using new, undisclosed cell culture techniques to develop steaks and other cell-based meat products. It was founded by chemical engineer Benjamina Bollag and stem cell biologist Stephanie Wallis.
According to the company website, development of cell-based steaks is more sustainable, cruelty-free, and can reduce the transmission of food-borne illnesses.
In an article published on June 2, 2018, the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) weighed the benefits and challenges of using cells (as opposed to plant products) to develop animal-free meat. They noted that using cellular components can allow developers to control proportions and types of fats in the final products, allowing them to control the flavor and nutritional content. Also, since the final product would actually be meat, it could be more palatable and convenient to consumers. However, a major hurdle for scientists looking to generate meat from cells is what to put into the nutrient mixture which coaxes the cells toward muscle fibers. Currently fetal bovine serum is used, a product derived from fetal calves in a costly and unsustainable process. These are problems that have already been considered by several cell-based meat companies including Memphis Meats, Just, Inc., and SuperMeat, and others, suggesting one of the main challenges for HigherSteaks will be catching up to other more established companies.
While it has not been stated what edge the company will bring to the development of cell-based meat, founder Benjamina Bollag's research background gives way to some speculation. First, after earning her Master's degree, she went to work for fragrance and flavoring company Firmenich where she developed new flavoring molecules, suggesting she may be able to contribute to more accurately flavored steaks. Following this, she worked for 3D printing and additive manufacturing company Stratasys, where she worked to solve "solidification problems", leading to speculation she might attempt a 3D manufacturing model, which recently gained some traction in Australia.
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- Cluster: Plant-based and clean meatA cluster of topics related to cultured meat, plant-based meat, clean meat and cellular agriculture.
- Cellular agricultureCellular agriculture is an interdisciplinary scientific field drawing from several disciplines such as synthetic biology, genetic engineering, molecular biology, tissue engineering, biochemistry, and food science to design organisms capable of producing a wide variety of agricultural products.
- Cultured meatCultured meats are animal flesh products made from extracted animal cells that are grown in bioreactors and harvested for consumption. Cells are taken from animals such as a chickens, cows, or tuna, and grown using scaffolding and/or self-organizing constructs in bioreactors.
- Memphis MeatsCompany making cultured meat based in San Francisco founded by Uma Valeti, Nicholas Genovese and Will Clem.
- JUST, Inc.JUST, Inc. (formerly known as Hampton Creek) is a food technology company developing and selling plant based food products around the world.
- SuperMeatSuperMeat is an Israeli biotechnology company, founded on December 15, 2015. SuperMeat is working to develop chicken meat products cultured from extracted chicken cells.