Eitan Fischer launched Mission Barns, a food company based in San Francisco. Founded in 2018, its mission is to cultivate meat for a more sustainable food system with fewer greenhouse gas emissions, reduced land and water usage, and free from animal harm — all while keeping us safer from animal-borne diseases. A graduate of Yale and Stanford, Eitan started and led the Cellular Agriculture division at Eat Just, Inc., prior to founding Mission Barns.
Can you tell us about what led to founding Mission Barns?
Mission Barns is a food company based in San Francisco. Founded in 2018, its mission is to cultivate meat for a more sustainable food system.
Mission Barns is evolving our food system for four key reasons:
1. Food Security: As the world’s population grows and incomes rise, food production in developing countries will need to nearly double. With cultivated meat, just one animal—living freely—has the potential to feed millions.
2. Sustainability: Animal agriculture generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all transportation combined and is a major driver of deforestation and waterway pollution. Cultivated meat is much kinder to nature—using less resources to preserve our planet.
3. Animal Welfare: Throughout history, the only way to eat meat has been to take the life of an animal. Now for the first time, we can cultivate meat without harm.
4. World Health: Mission Barns products are cultivated without antibiotics, which minimizes the risk of developing antibiotic-resistant microbes and animal-borne diseases.
Why did you choose to focus on cultivated meat, versus other types of food that can be produced through cellular agriculture?
At Mission Barns, we are pioneering cultivated meat because we believe it can solve the challenges of conventional food production without anyone in the world having to give up meat. Deliciousness is about flavor and juiciness, which is why we focus on cultivating fat. As every cook knows, fat is flavor. Our bacon, sausage, and meatballs combine cultivated pork fat with healthful plant protein for a succulent, sustainable bite.
Our first products combine cultivated pork fat and plant protein to deliver the flavor and juiciness shoppers are looking for. By combining our cultivated pork and plant protein, we get the best of both worlds — meat that is better for you and better for the planet.
Can you share how the scientific process works for developing cultivated meat? Specifically, are there any major changes as it relates to producing bacon versus meatballs versus pork?
Mission Barns products are made from real pork, without harming a single pig. A small, harmless sample from an animal is fattened in a cultivator by feeding it plant-derived nutrients. After just two weeks, we combine our harvest with plant protein so you can enjoy Mission Barns meat.
Mission Barns products are made in a commercial food facility, like many of the foods that we enjoy, including bread, cereal, or any prepared meals. It’s the meat we all know and love, crafted in a cultivator instead of raising a live animal.
How have you gone about building out your own production and scientific processes? What obstacles have you had to overcome in order to bring your vision into reality?
We have achieved many milestones that we are proud of in the past year with the top one being that we are ready to launch upon regulatory approval. Key milestones include:
● Moved into our San Francisco headquarters & operational pilot plant
● Rebranded Mission Barns complete with a new logo, website, and packaging
● Secured retail and food service launch partners
● Achieved a completely animal-free production process (other than the starter
cells, of course)
● Scaled up our technology further, successfully running our largest bioreactors to
Mission Barns’ Pilot Plant & HQ is 32,000 square feet and houses a fleet of our proprietary cultivators. We are currently operating out of our pilot plant facility where we can produce enough product to service a handful of retailers and restaurants, and plan to next build out a commercial facility, which will enable us to scale our products for broader consumption.
As we scale, additional capital and continuing to have some of the brightest minds in the industry on our team are integral to our success. The launch of Mission Barns products into the marketplace is just the beginning. At Mission Barns, we are developing products that can feed the world.
Many are skeptical that cultivated meat could ever replace traditional meat. What is your perspective on this?
Tasting is believing, and Mission Barns products are truly delicious.
As the world’s population grows and incomes rise, it is projected that food production in developing countries will need to nearly double. Cultivated meat provides another option to feed the world. Just one animal—living freely—has the potential to feed millions.
And we’re not alone in this endeavor. The world’s largest meat companies are coming to Mission Barns to understand how they can produce large amounts of protein that matches the sensory profile consumers are craving plus the sustainability benefits our planet requires. Many have already invested or partnered in this space. We have been so impressed by how much interest we’ve seen from these major players.
As in countless other industries, large meat companies understand it’s better to transition from within, as consumers are demanding delicious, sustainable foods. So, we’re happy to help them on their path as partners instead of adversaries toward the mutual goal of creating a more sensible food system for our world.
What are some of the things you see happening in the near future that could have a significant impact on the adoption of cultivated meat actually becoming widely available in North America?
Regulatory approval, which will allow more people to eat our products, and price parity will have a significant impact on cultivated meat adoption. We are anticipating regulatory approval in the near future and have developed products that blind consumer taste tests have shown are preferred to leading plant-based alternatives and are close to parity with conventional animal products. At Mission Barns, our goal is to compete on price with conventional meat, and hope to one day undercut the price of conventional meat. As we scale, the price will decrease.
For those who are unfamiliar, could you share exactly what needs to happen from a regulatory perspective in order for Mission Barns to be in restaurants and grocery stores?
We're actively working with regulators around the world to bring Mission Barns cultivated meat products to market in a way that can assure consumers of its safety and high quality standards. We've already completed a comprehensive safety assessment of our cultivated pork, and expect the agencies to publicly agree with our assessment.
Importantly, Mission Barns pork is not genetically modified and contains no antibiotics. Mission Barns products contain real pork, without harming a single animal. A small, harmless sample from an animal is fattened in a cultivator by feeding it plant-derived nutrients and combined with plant protein so you can enjoy Mission Barns meat.
What has been the most surprising thing you have discovered in building Mission Barns?
The level of ingenuity that our growing team of senior biotechnology experts, culinary leaders from Michelin-starred restaurants, and veterans of cellular agriculture bring to the table every day is truly mind blowing.