China signed a $300 million trade deal this week to import Israel’s slaughter-free meat technologies. There are currently three Israeli food technology firms (SuperMeat, Meat the Future, and Future Meat Technologies) working to replace animals in agriculture with “clean” meat—also known as “lab-grown” or “cultured” meat, a process in which a small amount of animal cells are grown in a laboratory setting to create real meat without slaughtering animals. “It is a colossal market opportunity,” food nonprofit The Good Food Institute executive director Bruce Friedrich said. “This could put [clean] meat onto the radar of Chinese officials who have the capacity to steer billions of dollars into this technology.” China signed the deal with the intent of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by using Israeli technology to reduce the impact of animal agriculture. Chinese billionaire Li Ka-Shing—often compared to the country’s version of Bill Gates—identified a similar opportunity in the United States and has made substantial investments in US-based food technology firms Impossible Foods (makers of the fully plant-based Impossible Burger) and Hampton Creek—which announced its entry into the clean meat industry earlier this summer, with plans to introduce its first product to the market in 2018.
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