The inaugural 1st International Cellular Agriculture Conference CellAg 2023 held in Helsinki on June 14-15, 2023, marked a significant milestone in the field of cellular agriculture. We also took part in the 2nd Fermentation Enabled Alternative Protein Innovation Summit in Amsterdam.
With around 280 participants from Europe, the United States, Israel, and beyond, CellAg 2023 was a convergence of researchers, companies, investors, and regulatory representatives, including one from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The two-day conference delved into diverse aspects of cellular agriculture, shedding light on its economic viability, innovative applications, and technical advancements.
CellAg 2023: Day One
Day One focused on the economic prospects and business of cellular agriculture. The lineup of speakers included industry luminaries like Tim Geistlinger, previously associated with the development of the Beyond Burger, and Jim Mellon, a biotech investor and author. Start-up companies also pitched their concepts, covering a range of cellular agriculture applications from fermentation processes to cell cultivation.
CellAg 2023: Day Two
Day Two pivoted towards innovations and technical advancements in cellular agriculture. Ilan Samish of Amai Proteins illuminated the development and production of sweet proteins. Notable talks explored replacing cocoa butter and palm oil with microbial lipids, dairy production from cell cultures, NIR technology for monitoring fermentation, and more. The potential of cellular agriculture in sustainable food production and the integration of its products into the EU's food system were discussed by experts.
Biosafe's CEO, Pauliina Halimaa, was an integral part of the conference, participating in a panel discussion moderated by Lauri Reuter and contributing to exploring future R&D activities in the field.
One of the highlights of the event was a visit to Solar Foods' Factory 01, expected to commence operations by year-end, in Vantaa, Finland. Solar Foods produces Solein, a protein made "out of thin air", and Singapore is now the first country in the world to have approved a microbial novel food grown with carbon dioxide and electricity. You can already buy Solein ice cream there too.
The CellAg 2023 conference underscored the necessity of cellular agriculture for sustainable food production. While the short-term challenges include regulatory hurdles for ready-to-market cellular agriculture products, the industry is committed to overcoming energy consumption issues, optimising processes, and securing consumer acceptance for these revolutionary innovations.
Advancing alternative proteins in Amsterdam
Biosafe's presence was also felt at Amsterdam's 2nd Fermentation Enabled Alternative Protein Innovation Summit.
The event brought together a wide array of biotech companies, investors, service providers, and experts for a diverse range of discussions, from regulatory aspects to production process development and product commercialization. The summit placed a strong emphasis on harnessing fermentation for food production, aiming to pave the way for more ethical means of sourcing animal-derived raw materials and delivering nutritious, environmentally-friendly food to a growing global population.
The challenges in these groundbreaking innovations were notably centred around scaling up production processes and making them economically viable, ensuring that the end products remain appealingly priced for consumers. Additionally, the broader environmental impacts of production, such as land use and water consumption, were critical considerations even for non-animal-derived products.
The event offered a valuable opportunity to hear presentations from companies about their production process enhancements and their innovative products. Notable participants included Impossible Foods, NoPalm Ingredients, Mycorena, Maya Milk, Cultivated Biosciences, Better Dairy, EniferBio, and Bolder Foods.
While the challenges of the future are substantial, such innovations provide hope for a more sustainable food system that prioritizes environmental friendliness and human health.
Dr. Pauliina Halimaa, Biosafe's CEO, shared expertise in a dedicated focus day, discussing EU regulatory pathways, genetically modified microorganisms in the EU, and transparency regulation.
Both events exemplified the industry's determination to overcome challenges and seize opportunities in cellular agriculture. The knowledge shared and connections forged will undoubtedly propel the field to new heights, driving innovation, sustainable practices, and enhanced collaboration across the alternative protein landscape. As Biosafe continues to be at the forefront of this revolution, these events reinforce our commitment to shaping a safer, more sustainable food industry through expertise, collaboration, and innovation.
Pauliina Halimaa, PhD
Read more about Food safety regulations:
Food safety regulations in the European Union »