WAGYU BURGER_lifestyle

Source: Finnebrogue Artisan 

The pair hope to launch a cultivated wagyu burger once the nascent industry is given the regulatory green light by the FSA

Finnebrogue Artisan has partnered with British cultivated meat business Ivy Farm Technologies with the aim of creating a lab-grown wagyu beef burger for UK retail.

The Northern Ireland-based supplier, best known for selling own label meats across the mults and its Better Naked range of nitrite-free pork and plant-based meat alternatives, has signed a letter of intent with Ivy Farm – which is developing a range of cultivated meat products at its Oxford headquarters.

The tie-up will see the two companies work together to produce the burgers once the nascent industry is given the regulatory green light by the FSA.

Cells from Finnebrogue’s County Down-based wagyu herd are now being cultivated by Ivy Farm, in what it described as a “world-first partnership” that could ultimately lead to one of the world’s first commercially available cultivated wagyu beef burgers.

The process of creating the cultivated beef burgers involves fermenting the cells in tanks at Ivy Farm’s 18,000 sq ft pilot manufacturing facility, which has the capacity to produce up to 2.8 tonnes of cultivated meat per year.

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The wagyu cells join Ivy Farm’s existing (proposed) retail range, which includes British pork and Aberdeen Angus beef. Finnebrogue said future collaborations between the pair could also extend to cultivated meat from Finnebrogue’s venison.

Ivy Farm – which was originally spun out from an Oxford University cultivated meat research project – first hit the headlines in May 2021, when it outlined plans to become the first British commercial cultured meat producer.

Finnebrogue wagyu happy cow

Source: Finnebrogue Artisan 

Cells from Finnebrogue’s wagyu cows are being cultivated by Ivy Farm

It has since been awaiting FSA approval for its technology, while also seeking investment to ramp up production, and has previously held talks with sausage brand Heck over a proposed tie-up – a relationship it said this week was “continuing”.

But amid the current regulatory impasse in the UK, the business said earlier this year it would also press ahead with plans for an overseas production plant – with CEO Rich Dillon reportedly considering the US, along with countries in Asia and the Middle East. 

“Appetite from consumers for sustainable meat has never been higher,” Dillon said this week.

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“This new collaboration with Finnebrogue showcases how cultivated meat can work with traditional farming, helping reduce pressure on producers to intensify operations to meet growing demand, while boosting consumer choice. In Finnebrogue we have found a partner which has a long history and track record of producing premium products that do not compromise on taste and quality.”

Finnebrogue was “best-known for its agenda-setting innovation”, said the supplier’s chief strategy officer Jago Pearson.

“We have never been bound by the way food has always been produced, nor have we been tied to a single protein,” he added.

“Our task is always to make food that is nutritious, delicious and sustainable for food-loving consumers up and down the land – so we are excited to strike a partnership with Ivy Farm that will allow us to explore the future potential of cultivated meat. In time, we are excited to help realise the potential this may bring in producing sustainable food that can feed a growing global population.”