Chair of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology

Sausages From the Laboratory Instead of the Slaughterhouse

Germany has the opportunity to become a pioneer in the production of cultivated meat

Tönnies, Westfleisch and Co. - While some time ago the names of large slaughterhouses were still associated with tasty food, the corona crisis has now mercilessly revealed that the industry has a problem. This problem is an expression of the desire of a constantly growing world population to consume meat. But the mass production of meat is followed by major ethical and safety problems, not only in Germany. But it is also an opportunity, as shown by a bachelor thesis developed at the Chair of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technological Transformation at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management. Supervised by Professor Dries Faems, the study provides insights into why Germany has the potential in the upcoming years to become a world leader in the production of meat that is bred from animal cells in the laboratory.

The authors Julia Schimanietz and Gilda Lukacs have collected numerous qualitative and quantitative data from the USA and the EU. They come to the conclusion that for Germany it is currently a good idea to take the lead in the production of cultivated meat. They state several reasons for this: First of all, Germany already has a strong base of start-ups (e.g. Planetary Foods, Innocent Meat, Alife Foods, Peace of Meat) that are driving the development of meat bred in the laboratory. In addition, Bayer and Merck are well-known players who are already active in the field of life science. And finally, some of the companies that are under criticism right now are among the largest meat producers in the world. In cooperation with investors and start-ups, their infrastructure could be used to better market bred meat. This offers Germany the opportunity to build up its own ecosystem in this segment and to compete with other emerging ecosystems for example in California or Israel.

In order to be successful in the production of cultivated meat, the researchers stress that non-governmental organizations are essential as hubs. In addition, the Federal Government must become active with a legal framework for the entire production chain. This could not only reduce the uncertainties for start-ups, but also increase the attractiveness for investors. If the players mentioned above would cooperate more closely, the chances are good that Germany will become one of the leading nations in the field of bred meat and thus avoid future scandals in the slaughterhouse sector.

The results of the authors Julia Schimanietz and Gilda Lukacs were developed in the context of the bachelor thesis "A Systematic Comparison of the US and EU Startup Ecosystems of Cultivated Meat" at the Chair of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technological Transformation, supervised by Professor Dries Faems.

Download the full thesis