Do-good meat: are investors only after their pound of flesh?

What do Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Leonardo DiCaprio all have in common?

Aside from vast wealth and fame, all three are backing “alt- meat” – a fake meat they say has all the taste but none of the climate problems that come with traditional cattle farming.

“If you’re able to create a product that tastes, smells, feels, looks and costs the same as ground beef, yet is made from plant-based materials, it’s a very large market,” said venture capitalist Samir Kaul.

Kaul is a partner at Khosla Ventures, which along with Microsoft founder Gates, has invested millions of dollars in Impossible Foods, which produces the Impossible Burger.

Impossible because it is not meat, but part of a growing market in products that – unlike bean or Quorn burgers – simulate meat rather than just replace it with a veggie option.

The meat substitutes market will be worth nearly $6 billion by 2022, according to research firm Markets and Markets.

But industry analysts are cautious about the potential.

The United States is a nation of meat eaters – 98 per cent eat it at least once a week, according to Darren Seifer, a food consumption analyst for market research group NPD.

“For success in the food industry you have to be patient. What we eat and drink is culturally based and very habitual. It might take as long as a decade to see if there is any moving the needle,” Seifer told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

There are a handful of international companies like Impossible producing meat that does not involve animals being killed, deforestation or significant production of greenhouse gases. Impossible says its burger creates 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than a meat equivalent.

About 80 percent of all agricultural land is dedicated to grazing or growing feed for animals, the United Nations says. The livestock industry consumes 10 percent of the world’s fresh water, while generating methane and other planet-warming emissions, and causing large-scale deforestation.

In December, Beyond Meat, whose products look like meat but are made of plants, announced they had received investment of $55m from two investors with decidedly meaty credentials.

Tyson Foods, which produces a fifth of all animals eaten in the United States, was one; the other was Cleveland Avenue, a venture capital firm run by the former McDonalds Corp. CEO Don Thompson.

“There are many issues that impact upon climate change, but few as negatively as livestock,” Richard Branson wrote in a blog post explaining why he had put his money into Memphis Meats, which is growing meat from animal cells in laboratories.

In the same blog, the Virgin boss revealed he had given up beef because of rainforest degradation.

Gates too has expressed concern for the environment in a blog post entitled: ‘Is there enough meat for everyone?’

“How can we make enough meat without destroying the planet?—one solution would be to ask the biggest carnivores (Americans and others) to cut back, by as much as half,” he wrote.

The two biggest players that have gone to market in the United States – Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods – have now seen investment of more than $300 million.

full story – Reuters

Lee Mannion

Scotland’s niche meat producers work in an ‘abattoir desert’

TANGIBLE political support is now needed to help create small local abattoirs that can underpin niche meat markets across Scotland’s more remote regions.

Reacting to this week’s withheld permission on Skye’s micro-abattoir and the abrupt closure of Orkney’s abattoir two weeks ago, the Scottish Crofting Federation’s chairman Russell Smith declared that local abattoir provision had been ‘shamefully neglected’ amidst Scotland’s otherwise successful drive to enhance its food and drink industry.

“Animal welfare is compromised by vast transport distances and there is the added cost of travelling to and from the abattoir which can make direct selling unprofitable for small producers. Look at a map showing red meat slaughtering facilities in the UK – it is not great elsewhere, but Scotland is shamefully neglected – it is an abattoir desert.” said Mr Smith

Mr Smith stressed that the objectives of ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare and traceability were in line with ScotGov food policy, and said that the SCF had already made this argument: “Other European countries use micro-abattoirs to great socioeconomic effect,” he added.

Weighing in on the Orkney abattoir case, Mr Smith offered: “It is clearly unacceptable to transport animals for slaughter to the nearest facility in Dingwall, 150 miles away across the roughest stretch of UK coastal waters. Some of the islands’ unique, high-provenance products, such as North Ronaldsay mutton, could simply disappear.

“If Scotland’s food and drink industry is to thrive post-Brexit, the producers serving local, niche and high-quality markets must be enabled to do so, and, in the crofting areas, that means having access to local abattoir services.”

Read the full story – Scottish Farmer

Katrina Macarthur

British beef gets go-ahead for Canadian market

Manufacturing beef from the UK can now be exported to the “lucrative” Canadian market after approval was given by inspectors.

Work involving the AHDB, Defra, the FSA, UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP), Quality Meat Scotland and HCC Meat Promotion Wales, had been ongoing for a number of years before initial agreement was reached in 2015.

 The organisations have described the approval as “lucrative”, and a “great opportunity” for British farmers.

The agreement covered both primal cuts and manufacturing beef, but since then UK officials have been working to ensure manufacturing beef could be tested to the required microbiological standards required by the Canadian authorities.

Dr Phil Hadley, AHDB International Market Development Director, said: “This is fantastic news and comes after a lot of hard work by all parties involved.

“We already have market access for sheepmeat into Canada and beef primals have been going over since 2015. To have reached a stage where we have all the testing in place to satisfy inspectors with regards to ecoli is brilliant.

 “This is a great opportunity for processors and producers in the UK and is another outlet for our product, which in turn helps underpin farmgate prices.”

full story- Farming UK

Accles & Shelvoke adopt new owner’s name

Following the acquisition by FRONTMATEC last year, Accles & Shelvoke have announced a change of their corporate identity to FRONTMATEC Accles & Shelvoke, thereby assimilating the company firmly into the leading food production equipment manufacturing group.

The new identity for Accles & Shelvoke has been introduced as part of the process of merging the company into the FRONTMATEC group.

The new brand incorporates a refreshed logo which has been designed to reflect the new approach and ideas that the Danish group has brought into the Birmingham based company.

By retaining their historic name and combining it with the leading equipment manufacturer, Accles & Shelvoke’s new brand reflects its bigger and stronger position in the captive bolt stunning market as part of the world-leading customized solution provider for the food production industry.

Jesper Gade, Global Marketing Director for FRONTMATEC explained that the new brand for Accles & Shelvoke reflects the evolving focus and standards of the group. He said: “By combining Frontmatec and Accles & Shelvoke we are bridging our strategy for creating a strong global corporate identity under the Frontmatec name and utilizing our global presence to further develop the captive stunning business with the name that for more than a century has been synonymous with captive stunning tools.

“The new brand sends a clear signal of fully incorporating the Accles & Shelvoke business into the Frontmatec group while retaining the unique heritage of Accles & Shelvoke for the captive stunning program.”

Accles & Shelvoke was acquired by FRONTMATEC in May 2017, as the Danish company looked to offer a full product and service solution to the red meat industry. The addition of Accles & Shelvoke to the group has given FRONTMATEC a large share of the global captive bolt equipment market.

For over 100 years, Accles & Shelvoke have sold their CASH® branded captive bolt stunners across the world to businesses involved in meat production – from large and small meat plants to on-farm dispatch requirements.

The CASH® range of cartridge powered captive bolt stunners are the pioneering tools for the humane stunning of animals before slaughter that has contributed immensely in improving animal welfare practices in the meat industry.

The company will continue to sell their stunning tools under the CASH® brand, a name synonymous with quality and reliability, trusted by abattoirs and meat processing plants across the world, and is the leading cartridge powered stunning equipment in use today.

Joe Holland, General Manager of Accles & Shelvoke expressed excitement about the new identity and stressed that all the good things about the business – world leading precision manufacturing and excellence customer service will continue under the new name. He added: “Following the acquisition, Accles & Shelvoke is aligning its core identity with that of the new owners FRONTMATEC by incorporating the corporate identity of the group.

“Under the new leadership, we are looking to introduce new products and improve on our existing range, while maintaining the high standards of manufacturing that our customers have come to expect from us.

“The refreshed identity has brought a new vigor to our business which will give us the impetus to strive for more.”

Only abattoir on Orkney to close

Orkney’s only abattoir is to close after the island’s council pulled out of an arrangement with local butchers to fund it.

Orkney Island Council said it had spent about £1m on the facility since 2012 in an effort to keep it open.

They blamed maintenance costs as well as the availability of technical staff.

The abattoir at Hatston had been processing about 50 animals a month. They will now be shipped 150 miles south to Dingwall for slaughter.

A group of local butchers, known as Orkney Meat Processors Ltd (OMPL), had operated the abattoir and carried out slaughter of cattle, sheep and pigs about three times a month.

In December the council launched a £50k “challenge fund” to encourage local businesses to come up with a way of providing more “sustainable” abattoir services on the island.

Gavin Barr, director of development and infrastructure services, said: “We have taken this decision based on a number of factors, primarily that key resources like technical staff time are simply no longer available to us.

“We’ve worked hard with OMPL and spent a great deal of money over the last five years to keep the facility running, but this cannot continue in the long-term, with substantial further investment needed to bring the facility up to the standard that we feel is necessary to continue to provide this service.”

Full story – BBC


Thomas Foods International’s abattoir up in flames

Thomas Foods International’s giant abattoir in Australia hit by devastating fire


THOMAS Foods International is promising it will come back bigger and better in Murray Bridge, in the wake of a devastating fire that ripped through one of the nation’s largest abattoirs.

TFI chief executive Darren Thomas said some of the company’s 1400 employees would be redeployed to its Lobethal abattoir, but would not say if there would be redundancies.

“Moving forward there is going to be disruption to the Murray Bridge facility but it’s too early to say how long that is going to be,” Mr Thomas said.

“The most important thing to me is the staff and wellbeing of our workers, because there are many of them.

“The main focus over the ensuing months is to ensure our employees are employed in whatever format that might be.”

Mr Thomas vowed to reopen the Murray Bridge site and their Lobethal and Tamworth operations would manage its small stock production in the meantime.

Beef orders would be processed at other sites.

“We’ll be back bigger, better and stronger, we’re committed to this industry,” he said, saying the business would stand by his “family” of workers.

“At their time of need we’re not going to be walking away from them,” Mr Thomas said.

“I’ve seen 20 years of my life almost evaporate before my eyes, but I’m committed more than ever to return Murray Bridge back to the jewel in the crown that it was in South Australia.”

full story – The Advertiser

AAP, Adam Langenberg, Tim Williams, Andrew Hough, The Advertiser