Newsletter #2

Hi everyone, Alex here with the second Cellular Agriculture UK newsletter!

Our launch event took place a week ago, and it was a huge success! Read below to find out more.

We have 2 events coming up this month! First, we’re hosting a talk and Q&A session with Mike Selden, CEO of Finless Foods, and their newly appointed Director of Food Science, Mariliis Holm, at Imperial College London!

And second, we’re having our first social ‘Clean Meat and Greet’ (get it?) at a lovely vegan pub with shockingly cheap burgers and vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese!!!

What’s been happening

Our launch event took place on Tuesday the 26th of February, and it was a huge success!

We were thrilled to see ~55 attendees representing industry R&D leaders, investors, lawyers, excited students and vegetarian & vegan activists, all gathered in one place to discuss the field of Cellular Agriculture.

After some networking and snacks, we moved on to the presentation portion of the night. Our very own Seren Kell introduced the problem of animal agriculture and the exciting solution offered by cellular agriculture.

Iltud Dunsford spoke about his journey as a Welsh farmer, establishing an award-winning artisan meat company, travelling the world on a farming scholarship, discovering the potential of cell-based meat and founding the UK’s first cellular agriculture company, ‘Cellular Agriculture Ltd’.

Chris Bryant, Director of Social Sciences at the Cellular Agriculture Society (CAS), spoke about research into consumer acceptance of cellular agriculture products, including discussions on the best nomenclature (“clean meat” vs “cell-based” etc.), the best benefits to focus on when explaining the field to consumers (environment vs ethics vs health) and consumer opinion of cell-based meat around the world.

Finally, Richard Parr gave a talk in which he announced his very recent appointment as the Managing Director for Europe at the Good Food Institute! He touched upon GFI’s mission, then took suggestions from the audience on how best to help the field grow in this part of the world.

After the talks, we stuck around to continue networking, moving to a nearby bar and letting the discussions continue over some beers.

Overall, it was a thrillingly well-attended and insightful evening. It was fantastic seeing lots of new faces and hearing people in passionate conversations about the future of the field. We hope with each conference and casual meet-up to increase the cohesion of the community in the UK and provide a fertile mixing ground for ideas and collaboration.

What’s coming up

With our launch event behind us, we’re now preparing for our two March events!

On Monday 11th March, we will be hosting an evening event with Mike Selden, CEO of Finless Foods, along with Mariliis Holm, Finless Foods’ Director of Food Science. There will be a talk followed by a Q&A session.

This is the first talk in the UK by a cellular agriculture company making seafood, so get your ticket ASAP to learn about the unique challenges of growing cold-blooded animal cells!

The venue & time are currently TBC, but ticket holders will receive an email when this is finalised, and we will also post on our website, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Also, our first social meet-up, the ‘Clean Meat & Greet’, is coming up! Please note the change of date - the event will now be held on Tuesday 26th March. This will be a more relaxed event at a vegan pub in Islington, which promises a great night of discussions but also £7 vegan burgers and vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese! I have no doubt this will be our most popular event; vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese!!

What we’ve been working on

Since the first newsletter, which came out on the 12th of February, we’ve been working hard arranging our upcoming events!

In addition, Seren gave another talk to a group of interested students, this time at the University of Cambridge. An important part of our goal is to spread awareness of the field, and targeting bright young minds is an ideal place to start.

Opportunities

Our friends at Higher Steaks, a UK clean meat company, are hiring! They are looking to hire and/or collaborate with Bioprocess Engineers, Biomaterial Scientists, and people of similar backgrounds. You can find more information here.

Additionally, at our launch event, Richard Parr (newly-appointed Managing Director for Europe at the Good Food Institute) was very interested in hearing the audience’s suggestions for how GFI could best support the Cellular Agriculture movement in Europe. If you have any suggestions for key issues that GFI should prioritise in Europe, or key activities it should undertake, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with him at richardp@gfi.org. Many thanks!

UK News

In the news this month, we saw an early UK skirmish in the international war over regulation and labelling of animal-free foods.

After the opening of the country’s first all-vegan cheese shop, the lobby group ‘Dairy UK’ wrote to the owners, asking the startup to stop using the word "cheese" to describe dairy-free products it sells.

There will no doubt be far more news stories like this in the coming months!

Shout-Outs

I’d like to give a big shout out and thank you to our friends at the ‘Cultured Meat and Future Foods Podcast’, who were kind enough to give our launch event a mention in one of their recent episodes.

For a field as small as Cellular Agriculture, it’s fantastic that this podcast exists. It contains a huge number of high-quality interviews with a variety of big names in the field, such as Isha Datar, Paul Shapiro, Mike Selden, Ahmed Kahn, Benjamina Bollag & Stephanie Wallis… the list goes on and on!

Also, Ahmed Khan of CellAgri is writing an eBook on the field of cellular agriculture; I’ve read the draft version and it’s really great! It contains all the essentials of what you need to know; information on the science behind clean meat (described in a really clear way). a look at the process of moving from lab to market, common misconceptions, and obstacles that the field will need to overcome.

It’s a seriously fantastic resource; keep an eye on cell.ag (or sign up for their newsletter) to get your copy when it’s released.

Signing out

So that was February, a very exciting month! And March promises to be even better; we have an event where there will be vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese!!

If you have any feedback, questions or items you’d like us to include in future newsletters, please don’t hesitate to get in touch; you can send in an email via the “Contact Us” page of our website, or message me directly on LinkedIn.