Australian cultivated meat firm Vow held Europe’s first cultivated meat tasting, which was attended by the leader of the Icelandic government. 

The tasting was held in Iceland on 12 February in partnership with Icelandic biotech ORF Genetics and featured gourmet dishes created from the cells of Japanese quail cultivated by Vow.

The tasting was held as cultivated meat faces a contentious moment in Europe, receiving investment from countries such as the UK and the Netherlands while facing bans in Italy and France

Among the attendees was the Prime Minister and acting Minister of Food, Fisheries and Agriculture of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who said she “enjoyed” her first taste of cultivated meat.  

(M-R, George Peppou, Katrín Jakobsdóttir). Image via ORF Genetics.

Jakobsdóttir commented on the importance of the event, saying: “It is clear that our food systems need to change so that we can feed a population estimated to reach 9 billion in 2040. It is also evident that we need to use innovation and technology to establish new ways of addressing the climate challenge. This is exactly what we are seeing on the tasting tables here today.” 

Jakobsdóttir added that she viewed cultivated meat as one of the solutions to the climate crisis and that the Icelandic authorities are determined to “pave the way for the adoption of new solutions in Iceland” and were eager to “see the development of an EU regulatory framework for cultivated meat”. 

Co-founder and CEO of Vow, George Peppou, said: “We have a vision of producing meat that is deliberately different – uniquely delicious, nutritious and sustainable, and unlike anything you’ve tasted before. That is why we are so excited to partner with ORF to announce today that Icelanders will be the first to taste an entirely new food in Europe’s first ever official cultured meat tasting.”

CEO of ORF Genetics, Berglind Rán Ólafsdóttir, said: “We are excited to bring this innovative, novel food product for this milestone tasting event here in Iceland, showcasing that not only is cultivated meat a more sustainable alternative to traditional meat – but that it is also a delicious one. ORF’s barley-grown growth factors allow cultured meat companies like Vow not only to grow but to rapidly scale-up its production to meet future-market demands.”

Images via ORF Genetics.

ORF Genetics develops a plant-based growth factor designed specifically for cultivated meat called MESOkine. Aside from Vow, the Icelandic biotech firm has partnered with leading cultivated meat firms such as Israel’s Aleph Farms and Dutch company Mosa Meat, among others.

Vow made history in early 2023 when it became the first cultivated meat company to apply to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) for approval of a cultivated product as a food ingredient. After months of safety investigations, the regulator concluded that the product was safe to eat and  has already entered the public consultation process.

Vow’s receiving approval would make Australia the fourth country in the world to allow the commercialization of a cultivated product, following the US, Singapore, and Israel.  

According to Cultivated X, Vow is also expecting approval from Singapores’s national authority, SFA, to introduce its Forged Parfait cultivated quail product.

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