Regulatory approval for cultivated meat anticipated as company prepares for first-ever facility in the region
Eat Just, Inc., a company that applies cutting-edge science and technology to create healthier, more sustainable foods, announced today that it has partnered with Doha Venture Capital (DVC) and Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), to build the first-ever cultivated meat facility in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region.
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GOOD Meat cultivated chicken (Photo: Business Wire)
The regional hub will be located in the Umm Alhoul Free Zone, one of two free zones overseen and regulated by QFZA, with direct access to Hamad Port. The hub will initially comprise a large-scale facility for Eat Just’s GOOD Meat division, which created the world’s first-to-market meat made from animal cells instead of slaughtered livestock. There are plans to add a protein processing facility for JUST Egg, the company’s plant-based egg division. The hub will be staffed with research and development, engineering and business development professionals.
This is DVC’s first investment in the protein innovation space and the forthcoming meat facility will be a first for QFZA, which is focused on bringing together leading global companies using innovative technologies to build a more sustainable future. ABG, LLC and Alvarium Investments Ltd. advised on the transaction.
The Qatar Free Zones Authority and the Ministry of Public Health have indicated their intention to grant regulatory approval for GOOD Meat cultivated chicken very soon and have formally granted an export license for the pioneering product. The GOOD Meat team is currently identifying restaurants in Qatar that would be ideal launch partners for this historic moment in the Middle East.
“Our team is grateful to take the next step in our global expansion in the Qatar Free Zones. Their commitment to accelerating our work in building a more sustainable food system was apparent from day one of our dialogue – and we're expecting to look back decades from now on this partnership with them as key to how we made that vision a reality," said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just.
“Eat Just is a highly innovative company with a bright future, and we’re pleased to be one of the investors in the company and welcome them to Qatar Free Zones. This partnership is a prime example of our commitment to supporting high-growth disruptors as they develop technologies that will change the world, while helping them take advantage of the many opportunities here in Qatar and across the region,” said DVC CEO Mohammed Al Abdulla.
“At QFZA, we help companies cut through the noise to rapidly establish and grow efficient operations, using Qatar’s unparalleled connectivity and access to expand worldwide. We’re particularly focused on companies shaping the future of their industries, and Eat Just’s team is doing just that. Our free zones are characterized by innovation, technology, accelerated growth and environmental awareness, and Eat Just is a natural partner across all four of these areas. Our food, agritech and biomedical sectors continue to grow rapidly, supported by the world-leading cold chain storage capabilities of our airport and port, and we look forward to working with Eat Just as they establish and scale in the region and worldwide,” said Lim Meng Hui, CEO of QFZA.
Eat Just’s attention to the Middle East comes as the company seeks to bring its award-winning JUST Egg products to retailers, restaurants and other foodservice destinations around the globe. In the United States, JUST Egg is the fastest growing egg brand and 1.2 million American households have made it No. 1 in loyalty within branded eggs. The company has sold the plant-based equivalent of 160 million eggs to date, and in the first half of 2021, celebrated record-breaking grocery sales. Today’s announcement follows Eat Just’s successful commercialization of GOOD Meat in Singapore, as well as its commitment to build a large-scale protein facility in Singapore.
Since securing the first-in-the-world regulatory approval for cultivated meat and making it available on restaurant menus and via home delivery in Singapore, top industry executives, world-renowned scientists and academics and leading media organizations have lauded GOOD Meat’s milestones as the beginning of a transformative new phase for the global food system. The company enthusiastically welcomes Qatar as a partner in this fast-moving and critically important sector as the country continues its rapid transition from depending on food imports to achieving self-sufficiency across many food sectors, and strengthens its position as a leading global hub for technological innovation.
About Eat Just, Inc.
Eat Just is a food technology company with a mission to build a healthier, safer and more sustainable food system in our lifetimes. The company's expertise, from functionalizing plant proteins to culturing animal cells, is powered by a world-class team of scientists and chefs spanning more than a dozen research disciplines. Eat Just created America’s fastest-growing egg brand, which is made entirely of plants, and the world’s first-to-market meat made from animal cells instead of slaughtered livestock. The company has been recognized as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies,” Entrepreneur’s “100 Brilliant Companies,” CNBC’s “Disruptor 50” and a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. JUST Egg has been named among Popular Science’s “100 Greatest Innovations” and Fast Company’s “World Changing Ideas” and the history-making debut of GOOD Meat was heralded as one of 2020's top scientific breakthroughs by The Guardian, Vox and WIRED.
For more information on JUST Egg, visit https://ju.st.
For more information on GOOD Meat, visit http://goodmeat.co.
About Doha Venture Capital (DVC)
Doha Venture Capital (DVC) focuses on investing in and attracting SMEs in strategic sectors, particularly companies developing advanced technologies, to take advantage of the growth opportunities in Qatar, the MENA region and the world. DVC partners with high-growth disruptive companies, providing them capital and access to Qatar’s domestic and global network, while targeting sustainable financial returns.
For more information on DVC, please visit https://dvc.qa/
About Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA)
Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) started its operations in 2019 and it oversees and regulates world-class free zones in Qatar. QFZA offers outstanding opportunities and benefits for businesses seeking to establish operations and expand regionally and globally, providing quality infrastructure, a skilled workforce, 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions and partnership opportunities with Qatari entities.
For more information on QFZA, visit https://qfz.gov.qa/
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