Cultured meat startup Vow in an Aussie first after Singapore approves its unique ‘quail’ product

Cultured meat startup Vow in an Aussie first after Singapore approves its unique ‘quail’ product

George Peppou, the founder and CEO of Vow

Sydney-based Vow, the cultured meat company that created a meatball from the DNA of the extinct woolly mammoth, has secured regulatory approvals in Singapore for its latest product, Quailia, which is derived from Japanese quail.

Vow says the move positions Vow as the first Australian company approved to sell cultured meat anywhere in the world with Quailia launched under the company’s Forged brand.

After “rigorous regulatory assessment” over more than a year, Vow has gained approval from the Singapore Food Agency to sell its cultured meat products derived from Japanese quail.

Vow, which was founded in 2019 and has raised US$56 million ($85.25 million) over three rounds, has released its flagship product in the Forged Parfait range to the market this week, available exclusively at Mandala Club, and plans to ramp up promotion of the product in Singapore over the next two months.

CEO George Peppou says the launch signals the beginning of Vow’s “commercial maturity” as it prepares to bolster production to meet demand in the Singapore market.

“We tantalised diners around the world with the mammoth meatball, and now we're bringing to life another world-first – an entirely new, utterly delectable animal. Quailia is the ultimate expression of what we do – create foods that are intentionally unlike anything we’ve had before,” says Peppou.

“We believe that the future of cultured meat is not in replicating what already exists, but in creating deliberately different foods designed for meat-eaters.

“This is the first product of its kind to be approved anywhere in the world, not an imitation of chicken or beef, but a truly unique cultured meat designed to elevate our experience of food.”

Cultivated is meat is produced by directly cultivating animal cells with the final product often indistinguishable from traditional meat, although the product can be made intentionally different to create new and unique products.

The Qualia Forged Parfait approved in Singapore was initially developed from a small sample of cells from a Japanese quail, which Vow says were “meticulously identified” by its team of 80 scientists, engineers and operations experts, isolating those that contributed to taste and texture.

Mandala Club's Hokkaido Wagyu Sando featuring Vow's Forged Parfait

 

“After studying the cells to discover what nutrients and environment they thrive in, the cells were moved to a bioreactor - a stainless steel tank akin to those found in a brewery – to emulate the natural growth conditions needed to flourish,” the company says.

Vow says that through this process, it is creating foods with “flavour and texture combinations previously unachieved”.

“So far, the global cultured meat industry has suffered from a lack of scalability and products that promise improved sustainability or reduced environmental impact but offer nothing new in terms of taste, texture or appeal when compared to the existing meat offerings,” says Peppou.

“At Vow, we’ve cracked both those challenges by creating an irresistible product that consumers will want because it's unlike anything else on offer, and that we are already producing at commercial scale.”

Ryan Clift, the renowned chef and owner of Singapore’s Tippling Club, has been working with Forged products for the past two years.

A Mandala Club creation for the launch - Cannoli, Forged Parfait, Kaluga Hybrid Caviar

 

“I’m so blown away by the profile of this product,” says Clift. “It’s sweet, has a beautiful, delicate flavour, and the texture is always perfect. It’s the perfect parfait.”

Vow is producing more than 100kg of Forged Parfait per month and plans to boost production as Forged is launched in more venues across Singapore and globally.

“We’re doing it for a fraction of the capital of the largest cultured meat companies in the world,” says Vow’s chief operating officer Ellen Dinsmoor.

“We knew we wanted to launch our products into the Singaporean market first, not only because of the globally renowned culinary scene, but also because of the clear regulatory pathways and the ease of doing business,” she says.

Vow notes that the Singapore Food Agency has extensive experience in assessing cultured meat and is regarded as a global leader when it comes to regulatory rigour.

“We have been deeply impressed by the Singapore Food Agency’s commitment to food safety and are confident that their approval will set us up well as we look to enter additional markets,” says Vow’s general counsel and head of regulatory affairs Andrew Janis.

Vow, which is backed by Blackbird Ventures, Prosperity7, SquarePeg and Peakbridge, has its eye entering the US market, as well as Australia and New Zealand, pending regulatory approval.

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