Estefanía García Luque, in a laboratory of the Faculty of Science, UMA. Francis Silva
Local researcher creates a company to produce cultured meat in Malaga

Local researcher creates a company to produce cultured meat in Malaga

Estefanía García Luque, 27, founded the startup GrowMeat, with the aim of adapting local slaughterhouses to the production of these new foods

Ignacio Lillo


Thursday, 6 April 2023, 11:52

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A University of Malaga (UMA) researcher has founded the startup GrowMeat to allow the cultivation of artificial meat in a more sustainable, economical and faster way than is currently practiced.

Estefanía García Luque, 27, from Villanueva de la Concepción, set up the Malaga-based company in January after she won a UMA Flash Session Hackathon prize at a prestigious entrepreneurship programme at the University of Berkeley in California.

"I was able to present our project there and work on other initiatives as a biologist. It was an incredible opportunity, being able to sit down for a coffee with investors who manage billions and who are interested in your idea gives you a rush," she said.

As a biologist, Estefanía García is continuing her doctoral studies in the Genetics Laboratory of the Faculty of Biology, under the direction of Professor Enrique Viguera. Her work at the same centre, is contracted by the Open Lab project of the UMA Smart-Campus, for the dissemination of science. "We aim to offer a more user-friendly way of looking at science, making it accessible to the public," Estefanía García said.

Her business philosophy is not only economic, but also aims to "offer an alternative to current meat production".

Meat sector under attack

Estefanía said: "The meat sector is under attack both socially and economically due to restrictions, taxes, high feed prices and on the environmental side, due to the exponential growth in meat consumption over the last 25 years, which destroys ecosystems and habitats and uses excessive amounts of water”.

The idea is not new: several companies already have products such as cultured meat burgers in the experimental phase, and systems that make industrial development possible, although it is still very expensive. In the United States a company in the sector has recently been authorised to start selling artificial meat.

"It's not science fiction, it's something that moves a lot of money worldwide and that will be a striking change and improvement for sustainability,” Estefanía said.

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