21. Hoxton Farms

Hoxton Farms is a London-based food technology company that develops cultivated fat for meat alternatives.

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Founders: Ed Steele and Max Jamilly

Year founded: 2020
Website: hoxtonfarms.com

The planet is in peril, and our appetite for meat is speeding up its demise. The livestock sector requires a colossal amount of the earth’s resources – from vast quantities of water and animal feed, to the fuel and energy used to keep the whole system moving. 

Add on the vast swathes of land used for livestock rearing and the fact that the sector is responsible for over 14% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, you have a recipe for a climate emergency. This is all before you consider the moral quandary over raising billions of creatures worldwide in largely miserable conditions before they’re sent to slaughter.

However, meat is popular for a reason – nothing tastes quite like it. For those who haven’t sworn off a carnivore’s diet, finding genuinely sustainable approaches for your dinner plate can prove challenging.

Here’s where Hoxton Farms steps in with its extraordinary tech. The business develops cultivated animal fat for meat alternatives. The company's mission is to make delicious meat alternatives that are indistinguishable from traditional meat. 

The process involves growing animal fat cells in bioreactors. No livestock is needed, making it more sustainable and less cruel than traditional meat production. 

It’s hard to say what’s more remarkable about Hoxton Farms – the world-changing potential of the product it makes, or the sheer tenacity of the founders to get the business started in the first place. 

Founders Ed Steele and Max Jamilly started Hoxton Farms during the first lockdown, bootstrapping at every turn to get the early stage wet-science underway. They begged and borrowed their way into corners of other people’s labs, and were gifted their first cells to work with. 

After leaning on early favours from other biotech founders, Steele and Jamilly finally raised a seed round and built a lab of their own. 

This tenacity has paid off – Hoxton Farms has now raised £19.8 million in Series A funding from investors including the Collaborative Fund, which previously backed both Impossible Meat and Beyond Food.

The business has established partnerships with leading meat alternatives companies, with products due on supermarket shelves by 2025. It has plans to grow cultivated fat at multiple sites globally by 2027.

“Cultivated fat is the key to making meat alternatives that are delicious, nutritious, and affordable,” says Max Jamilly, co-founder of Hoxton Farms. “We're excited to be working with some of the world's leading meat alternatives companies to bring our products to market.”

Animal meat, but without the animals. It sounds like the stuff of pure science-fiction. For some consumers, the idea of animal tissue being grown in a lab may be too off-putting to consider taking a bite. However, the sights and sounds of an industrial farm or abattoir might well be even less palatable. 

With the unfathomable impact of the meat industry on the environment, the time is here for a revolutionary change to the world’s food system. Who’d have thought it might happen in Hoxton?

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