Industrial Manufacturing
Industrial Manufacturing
Cultivated Meat's Path to Price Parity
A techno-economic analysis of cultivated meat
Yossi Quint
July 11, 2023

Cultivated meat is at an inflection point. Companies are shifting focus from feasibility to unit economics and scale-up. We estimate that cultivated meat can reach a price of $29.5/lb with already commercialized technology and approaches, which is cost-competitive with whole cuts like filet mignons and tenderloins, but still 6x more expensive than ground beef. For cultivated meat to reach mass consumption, it must be cheaper.

Ark’s techno-economic analysis (TEA) demonstrates four ways to bring down the cost of goods sold (COGS) well below the $29.5/lb baseline:

  1. Reduce the cost of media
  2. Improve biomass yields
  3. Optimize the bioprocess
  4. Reduce capital spend (depreciation), primarily through larger bioreactors

Ark’s TEA is distinct in that it leverages achievements from industrial-cell culture to determine a baseline, and models out COGS for a larger factory (50K MT of annual output) with larger bioreactors (up to 1M liters) and different modes of production (batch, fed-batch, perfusion, continuous).

Key findings

  • $29.5/lb COGS is a baseline: Using known cell-culture achievements from the pharmaceutical industry provides a baseline upon which further price reduction can be achieved
  • No silver bullet: Advancements across media, bioreactors, cells, and bioprocess are all needed to reach price parity
  • Media is the biggest contributor to COGS: Reducing costs to ~$1/L in conjunction with other improvements can support cultivated meat reaching price parity
  • The biggest lever to reduce CapEx is increasing the size of bioreactors: Larger bioreactors also reduce COGS through lower depreciation and reduced labor needs
  • Cell density needs to match or exceed high-performing cell lines in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Differentiation can meaningfully improve unit economics: Impact will vary based on mass increase and speed of process
  • A fed-batch or continuous process is the most cost effective: Fed-batch is superior in most cases but continuous has the benefit of requiring less CapEx and needing a smaller footprint

You can read more by downloading the full version below.

Download a full version
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.