Source: Daily Mail (Extract)
Posted: March 18, 2024

With an estimated 26 per cent of households owning one, cats are some of the most popular pets in the UK.

And if you have a kitty, a new pet food option could soon be available to you.

Experts at London-based startup, Meatly, have developed the world’s first cans of pet food that use lab-grown chicken as the protein source.

The meat is grown using cells from chicken eggs which are cultivated in the lab, and it looks just like real chicken, according to Meatly.

While the pet food is yet to be granted regulatory approval, Meatly has already partnered with Pets at Home, who plan to be the first retailer to offer the products in the UK.

The lab-grown cat food is created through a three-step process, which begins with a small sample of cells taken from a chicken egg.

‘After this, we never use another animal product in our production, ever,’ Meatly explains on its website.

These cells are cultured in the lab, where scientists provide them with the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids needed for them to grow into meat.

Finally, the cells are nurtured in a container that controls temperature and acidity, which Meatly compares to the process used to make yoghurt or beer.

‘When our meat is ready, we work with the world’s leading pet food manufacturers to make delicious meals for pets,’ it added.

For the lab-grown cat food, Meatly partnered with pet food company, Omni, which is venturing into the world of cultivated meat for the first time.

‘Meatly’s ingredient is incredibly exciting to us at Omni, not only because it represents a virtually infinite, cruelty-free source of meat but also because it can be optimised for health,’ said Dr Guy Sandelowsky, founder of Omni.

‘This means more essential vitamins, minerals and omegas, and an elimination of the troublesome components that can be found in traditional meat, such as antibiotic residues.

‘We see the ingredient of particular importance to the cat food market, which lacks credible alternative protein solutions currently.’

While many pet owners will likely be concerned about the safety of lab-grown meat, Meatly reassures that its product is safe.

‘Our cultivated meat is made without any GMOs or antibiotics,’ it explains on its website.

‘There are no unwanted chemicals, bacteria, or other nasties in our meat.

‘It’s just pure chicken, making it a healthy and nutritious source of proteins and nutrients for pets.’

Meatly is still pending regulatory approval, but has already revealed plans to sell the product at Pets at Home.

‘We are excited to be a part of Meatly’s journey and are looking forward to being the first retailer to offer their products in our pet care centres,’ said David Wainwright, Commercial Director at Pets at Home.

‘While it is still early days, we are committed to helping drive change in the industry and finding sustainable alternatives to replace some of the protein used globally in pet food would be a major step forward.’

Meatly told MailOnline that the 150g tins — enough for a single meal — will cost roughly £1.