Sci-Fi Foods conducts world’s first LCA of cultivated beef
By Food in Canada StaffSustainability Specialty Foods cultivated meat Editor pick Ohio State University Sci-Fi Foods
The first ever life cycle analysis (LCA) around the sustainability benefits of cultivated beef was recently conducted by SCiFi Foods and Ohio State University (OSU).
The study was further validated by Sustainability, a peer-reviewed, open-access academic journal published by MDPI, who, after a lengthy analysis, ultimately approved and published the study. Currently, it is available for all to read online, free of charge.
One of the biggest arguments for the case of cultivated meat revolves around the climate benefits. Until now, there have been limited research to prove such claims, however, none specifically conducted around cultivated beef, which has opened the door to some criticism. As such, SCiFi Foods felt it was important to prove the validity of its sustainability assertions. The LCA environmental impact study took a SCiFi burger consisting of cultivated beef cells and plant-based ingredients (water, soy protein isolate, etc.) and compared it to traditional (beef) meat. While some parts of the process were very similar in impact such as cold storage, packaging, and distribution, there was little doubt overall the SCiFi burger had a smaller environmental impact.
In all areas of consumption: GHG emissions, energy, land, and water usage, the SCiFi Foods burger resulted as a more sustainable product compared to a traditional beef patty. The study did not assume the exclusive use of renewable energy and also suggested the SCiFi burger could become even more climate friendly through such methods, a potential benefit unavailable to conventional cattle farming.
Dr. Bhavik Bakshi, Richard M. Morrow Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at OSU, who led the study, expressed his excitement around the results. “There are many ways engineering and bioengineering is being utilized today to create a more sustainable future,” he said, “and this is just the onset when it comes to what science can do for the food system.”
While this study is specific to SCiFi Foods’ products, it is a validator for the entire space.
“Since June, when we changed our name, we showed the world we want to be a company with an open door policy, and that includes backing all the claims we make,” said Joshua March, co-founder and CEO. “Honestly, we’re proud to prove that yes, what we’re doing is truly making an impact because as much as this is about delicious burgers, the crux of it is about leaving a positive mark on the planet.”
SCiFi Foods office and lab is based in San Leandro, Calif., and expects to break ground on its official pilot plant early in 2023. The company hopes to launch its blended burgers in 2024.
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