The food and agricultural system as we know it today is facing increasing pressure due to a variety of societal and environmental challenges. To answer these, multilevel action is required including changes in the current food production systems and consumption patterns, and exploring the potential of novel technologies for edible biomass production. One emerging and potential breakthrough technology that is currently under investigation is the introduction of cultured meat, also known as clean meat or in vitro meat.
Cultured meat attracted tremendous financing from high-end investors in the past decade. This fundraising success is mainly attributed to its claims to maintain taste and texture of real meat, while simultaneously meeting animal welfare advocates and environmental sustainability concerns. However, its development is still at an early stage: several technical challenges are currently prohibiting successful market introduction. The production process needs to be improved in order to obtain a cost-efficient, safe and edible product. In addition, perception of consumers and stakeholders remains a challenge which should be continuously monitored and addressed accordingly. Also, a profound environmental sustainability assessment is lacking today.
The CUSTOMEAT project aims to advance knowledge on these research gaps and deliver on technologies required to produce structured in-vitro meat by integrating expertise from the biomedical engineering field with know-how in food technology.
The scientific consortium of this project consists of the following partners:
- Ghent University, Laboratory for Animal Nutrition and Animal Product Quality (LANUPRO) – Prof. Stefaan De Smet
- Ghent University, nutriFOODchem – Prof John Van Camp, dr. Charlotte Grootaert
- Ghent University, Food Structure & Function Group (FSF) – Prof. Koen Dewettinck, dr. Daylan Tzompa Sosa
- Ghent University, Dpt. of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology – Prof. Catharina De Schauwer, Prof. Bert Devriendt
- Ghent University, Agro-food Marketing and Consumer Behavior (AFMCB) – Prof. Wim Verbeke, dr. Yung Hung
- Ghent University, Sustainable Systems Engineering (STEN) – Prof. Jo Dewulf, dr. Thuy Trang Nhu
- Ghent University, Polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials Group (PBM) – Prof. Sandra Van Vlierberghe
- Ghent University, Research Group Medical Cell Biology – Prof. Jolanda Van Hengel
- KULeuven, Campus Kortrijk, Unit Development and Regeneration – Prof. Lieven Thorrez
- Ghent University, Food2Know – Prof. Benedikt Sas, dr. Kaat Verplanken
The CUSTOMEAT project runs from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2023 and is subsidized by the FWO (SBO: S002821N).
For more information about this project, please contact Kaat Verplanken.