‘People want to eat meat,’ SCiFi Foods CEO on first production run, potential of cell-cultivated meat

In its manufacturing facility in San Leandro, Calif., SCiFi Foods​ scaled its beef cell lines that grow in single-cell suspension from its lab environment to a 500-liter bioreactor, March explained. The cell-cultivated meat created in the run will go into a hybrid burger party that consists of 10% cultivated meat and 90% plant-based meat.  

The quantity produced in the first run — which produced higher yields than from their smaller format bioreactors — will be the amount the company needs to launch commercially in foodservice establishments, March said. SCiFi Foods is also exploring ways to partner with major food companies to create other products, he added.

Currently, the company is seeking FDA and USDA approval for its process. In 2023, the FDA and USDA gave the green light​ for UPSIDE Foods and GOOD Meat to sell their respective cell-cultured chickens in the US.  

“FDA and the USDA have been really cooperative with industry. We’re in that consultation process with the FDA at the moment,” March said. “Our goal is that we will have full FDA and USDA approval by early next year, and we’re working really closely with regulators to enable that.”

Investors focus on scalability, commercialization 

Cell-cultivated meat companies are often challenged to scale their production to meet commercial demands, but SCiFi Foods is “very confident” in its ability to scale up, March said. Unlike other cell-cultivated products, SCiFi Foods comes in the form of a “fatty meat paste​”​ and doesn’t need the scaffolding that’s required in steaks or other more complex meats.