Clever Carnivore continues its path towards low-cost cultivated meat with recent funding

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/Vladimir Mironov
Source: Getty/Vladimir Mironov

Related tags cultivated meat cell cultured meat alternative protein

Biotech startup, Clever Carnivore, closed $7m of seed round funding to expand production of its low-cost cultivated pork sausage with plans to launch its prototype, the Clever Bratwurst in early 2024 without asking the consumer to pay more, Virginia Rangos, the company’s CEO and co-founder told FoodNavigator-USA.

The round was led by alternative protein investment firm, Lever VC along with several national and international investors, including McWin Capital Partners (Luxembourg), Thia Ventures (Belgium, Switzerland), Valo Ventures (Palo Alto, Ca.), Newfund Capital (France) and Stray Dog Capital (Kansas). Rangos explained Clever Carnivore’s investors “represent the diverse consumer base that we ultimately want to have.”

“It means quite a lot to us that we have investors from throughout the United States and from Europe … the goal was never for it to be a small batch product that is only available at a high price point and in a few niche, high end restaurants,” she emphasized.

Rangos noted that as consumers continue to seek a balance of taste, cost and convenience amidst inflation-driven food prices, the company’s strategy is to “present a product that tastes the same, costs the same and is just as convenient” while “introducing the product in a way that is appealing and familiar … with the added advantage of being cruelty-free.”

She added, “We’ll be able to build a profitable commercial facility without pricing the product at a premium. So affordability has always been essential here. It’s a core part of the Clever Carnivore value proposition.”

With its funding, Clever Carnivore intends to relocate from its Lincoln Park lab to a larger facility nearby. Additionally, the company’s expansion will scale up its production to 500 liter bioreactors and include test kitchens.

“This funding is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team and reaffirms the confidence that investors have in our cutting-edge science, technology and business model. With this investment, we are well positioned to revolutionize the protein market and enhance the overall consumer experience,” Rangos expressed in a statement​ earlier this week.

Reaching price parity amidst high operating costs for the industry

The high cost of growth media remains a major obstacle for cultivated meat producers, hindering their ability to achieve price parity with traditional meat and reach profitability. 

Clever Carnivore’s serum-free growth medium, which is devoid of the commonly used bovine serum albumin (BSA) or fetal bovine serum (FBS), contains a cell culture mixture of vitamins, salts and amino acids, Rangos explained.

While an exact price difference was not released, the company stated that its expanded capabilities will develop a product that is “one to two orders of magnitude lower than any other cultivated meat company globally.”

“We will be able to build a profitable commercial facility and to my knowledge that has not been achieved in the industry as of yet,” Rangos added.

As high operating costs are creating barriers for the industry and which are subsequently passed down to shoppers, Rangos cited that Clever Carnivore aims to achieve price parity with industrial farm-raised meat in the long run.

“Given that people are already frustrated with grocery store prices, our belief has always been that you can’t ask people to pay more for a product that is sustainable and cruelty-free, so Clever Carnivore bratwurst will be a sustainable, cruelty-free sausage without asking the consumer to pay more,” she emphasized.

 

                                                                                                                                          

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