The transition to animal-free and alternative meats is accelerating. But how will that affect the supply chain of valuable animal byproducts? Versatile, animal-derived proteins like collagen and gelatin are common-place in packaged foods, cosmetics, and even pharmaceuticals. If the plant-based revolution is to succeed beyond meats and dairy, entrepreneurs need to think broadly about reimagining the entire animal-agriculture economy.
This reimagining is what inspired the creation of Jellatech, the world’s first cell-based collagen and gelatin ingredient company. The company’s co-founders, Stephanie Michelsen and Kylie Hesp, see an unmet need to produce these indispensable industrial materials without the harmful environmental impacts or ethical issues of animal farming. Animal collagen is typically extracted by boiling animal carcasses leftover from slaughter. Jellatech’s platform avoids this messy process by culturing animal cells in a lab. Michelsen, who also serves as the company’s CEO, describes their platform as a cell farm rather than an animal one. “We don’t need to slaughter animals. [Our process] is much simpler and we can control it much better. We just harvest the collagen from the cells instead of the animals,” Michelsen says.
Stephanie Michelsen, co-founder of Jellatech (Image from https://www.forbes.com)