The Food Industry division of the Japanese giant has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Israeli start-up to bring cell-based steaks to Japan
Aleph Farms' chef cooking a steak

Aleph Farms and Mitsubishi Corporation’s Food Industry Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to bring cultivated meat to the Japanese table. The Israeli cultivated meat producer will provide its proven, scalable manufacturing platform, BioFarm, for the cultivation of whole-muscle steaks while Mitsubishi will provide its expertise in biotechnology processes, branded food manufacturing, and local distribution channels in Japan.

Didier Toubia, co-founder and chief executive of Aleph Farms, said: “The MoU with Mitsubishi Corporation’s Food Industry Group marks an important milestone for us, as we methodically build the foundations of our global go-to-market activities with selected partners.”

Mitsubishi Corporation is a globally integrated business enterprise that develops and operates a global network of 1,700 group companies in 90 countries.

With yearly revenue of $140 billion, Mitsubishi is comprised of 10 business groups covering virtually every industry.

Mitsubishi’s Food Industry Group covers food resources, fresh foods, consumer products, and food ingredients, and is active in every link of the food supply chain, from the production and sourcing of raw materials to the manufacturing of finished food products.

For Toubia, the cooperation demonstrates Aleph Farms’ strategy of working together with the food and meat industries to ensure successful integration of cultivated meat within the ecosystem while maximising the positive impact we make. “We are excited to bring cultivated meat production closer to the Japanese market.”

Food for climate change mitigation

This cooperation takes a lead role in the fight against climate change, especially now that the Japanese government stipulated a goal of achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Last April, Aleph Farms committed to eliminating emissions associated with its meat production by 2025 and reach the same net-zero emissions across its entire supply chain by 2030.

As the demand for meat continues to rise with evolving lifestyles, the cooperation will also provide actionable solutions to overcome the societal challenges to the local population surrounding the domestic meat supply. This includes implementing stable food channels of quality nutrition.

Gary Brenner, VP of market development at Aleph Farms, said: “This is part of a network of ‘BioFarm to Fork’ strategic partnerships being developed by Aleph Farms in APAC, LATAM, and Europe, following the successful 2019 Round-A strategic investment by Cargill and the Migros Group in Switzerland.”

Aleph Farms and Mitsubishi Corporation are members of the Cellular Agriculture Study Group, a consortium implementing policy proposals under the Japanese Center for Rule-Making Strategy.

The consortium brings together a range of experts on the definition and construction of cellular agricultural foods. It also adds clarification of conditions for Japanese products and technologies to have international competitiveness and establishes mechanisms for coexistence and division of roles with existing industries.

Date published: 5 January 2021