Cultivated wagyu beef coming to the UK

Finnebrogue and Ivy Farm Technologies have signed a letter of intent to create one of the world’s first commercially available cultivated wagyu beef burgers.

The UK food producer and the UK’s cultivated meat company said the partnership will see the two companies work together to produce cultivated wagyu burgers once the nascent industry is given the regulatory green light.

Finnebrogue has its own world class herd of wagyu cattle on its estate in County Down, Northern Ireland. Cells from this herd are now being cultivated by Ivy Farm in a world-first partnership.

Finnebrogue’s wagyu burgers were judged the overall favourite in the Which? magazine taste test for 2022. These burgers can be found across major retailers in the UK, such as Sainsburys, Ocado, Costco and Tesco.

Ivy Farm said its sustainable cultivated meat production process will allow Finnebrogue to explore a new way of meeting growing demand for its wagyu products, creating tonnes of delicious meat with a smaller carbon footprint.

The process of creating the cultivated Wagyu beef burger involves taking cells from Finnebrogue’s herd and cultivating these in fermentation tanks at Ivy Farm’s 18,000 sq. ft. facility in Oxford. The mince meat is grown and harvested from Ivy Farm’s pilot plant that resembles a craft beer brewery to the untrained eye.

The wagyu cells will join Ivy Farm’s existing product range, which includes British pork and Aberdeen Angus beef. Future innovations for Ivy Farm and Finnebrogue could also expand to include cultivated meat from Finnebrogue’s world renowned venison.

Commenting, Jago Pearson, chief strategy officer at Finnebrogue noted the move maps Finnebrogue’s “agenda-setting innovation”.

“Whether it be our revolutionary nitrite-free bacon, famous Oisin venison, our award-winning wagyu burgers or more recently the delicious plant-based alternatives we are producing from Europe’s leading vegan food facility, we have never been bound by the way food has always been produced, nor have we been tied to a single protein,” Pearson said.

“Our task is always to make food that is nutritious, delicious and sustainable for food-loving consumers up and down the land – and so we are excited to strike a partnership with Ivy Farm that will allow us to explore the future potential of cultivated meat. Ivy Farm will be cultivating wagyu beef from cells derived from the herd we keep on our Finnebrogue Estate in County Down, Northern Ireland. In time, we are excited to help realise the potential this may bring in producing sustainable food that can feed a growing global population.”

Rich Dillon, CEO at Ivy Farm explained that with appetite from consumers for sustainable and delicious meat as high as ever, the collaboration with Finnebrogue showcases how cultivated meat can work with traditional farming, helping to reduce the pressure on producers to intensify operations to meet growing demand, while boosting consumer choice.

“In Finnebrogue we have found a partner who has a long history and track record of producing premium products that do not compromise on taste and quality,” Dillon said. “Cultivated meat is sometimes called cellular agriculture. Ivy Farm grows cells from animals in large fermentation tanks in order to produce real meat that has a healthy nutritional profile and a more sustainable greenhouse gas footprint.”

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