[12 December/QZ]

In a first of its kind contract has been signed by JUST and Toriyama Ranch, which will see the high-end Japanese beef ranch working with a cell-cultured meat producer. JUST will source its beef cells from actual cuts of Wagyu beef or the live cows themselves which will then be transported from Japan to JUST’s headquarters in California, where food laboratory scientists will create the cell lines needed to grow and process meat. The first products will likely be ground meat, says JUST CEO Josh Tetrick, with an ambition to produce steak cuts that often sell for more than USD100 apiece. American and New Zealand markets have been highly skeptical of cell-cultured meat as many don’t like the idea of such products one day being branded with the word “meat” or “clean meat” on their product packaging. Mr Tetrick hopes to craft a narrative that will help sell cell-cultured meat, noting that the meat we eat today is imbued with culture and story, and it’s got to be clear that the choice is not a Silicon Valley choice but a story about ‘real farmers’. Mr Tetrick believes that there will always be a place for animal agriculture due to country food culture and special artisans. Meat companies such as Cargill, Tyson Foods, PHW Group, and Bell Food Group have invested in cell-cultured meat technology.