Mzansi Meat Co: Meet the startup that is changing the way we eat meat

For many South Africans, meat is an important component of our diet. Not only is it a rich source of protein, but it’s also embedded in our culture and features at social gatherings – from the iron pot potjiekos to the township shisanyama. However, meat products and how they are currently produced have been proven to have larger carbon footprints per calories than grain or vegetable products. 


Instead of cutting out meat altogether, what if there was a way to continue to enjoy meat in a sustainable way that doesn’t harm the environment? 


Mzansi Meat Co., currently based at the world-standard BioCiTi lab at the Woodstock Bandwidth Barn, has an innovative solution. 


“At Mzansi Meat Co. we’re working to bring tasty, healthy meat to your braais, potjies and shisanyamas by growing it from cells instead of taking it from animals,” shares co-founder Brett Thompson. “This is cultivated meat, and we’re on a mission to transform how we think about food while continuing to eat what we love.”


Brett and co-founder Jay Van Der Walt, are passionate about animal welfare and conservation of the natural world. The two have nearly 20 years of experience in working in animal advocacy and want to see a world where we can eat meat and have animals (live long and happy lives) too. Finding an innovative solution to animal suffering brought them to cultivated meat. 


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“Aside from air, food (including clean water) is probably the most vital resource for life on Earth. When one looks at current food systems data and 2050 population projections, the future does look bleak. But humanity has more knowledge, technology, human capacity and social intelligence than ever before—all of which can be leveraged to create a food system that nourishes all the world’s people, grows emerging economies, and nurtures diverse and thriving ecosystems. Since it is estimated that cultivated meat uses only 20% of the land and 4% of the water that factory-farmed operations do and also only contributes only 26% of the GHG emissions we see the technology and our company contributing positively to these ideals. Our big goal is to make healthy, delicious, accessible meat for Africa.”


The innovative company needed a partner in their backyard who could offer state-of-the-art facilities and see the bigger picture of how they wanted to change food systems – by keeping meat the same. After much searching, they found the perfect partner in BioCiTi.


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“BioCiTi didn’t show us the door when we told them about our supposedly (to others) crazy idea. They have enabled us to get our operations running immediately – despite COVID -19 and other hurdles our country is facing in 2020. The workspace is not just a lab but a fully equipped office that has taken us from (not really) zero to (super) hero in weeks.”


Have a biotech solution to an everyday problem? Check out our world-standard BioCiTi lab here

Fiona Tabraham

Fiona Tabraham is a strategic workforce development expert with a career founded on a resolute commitment to inclusivity, talent nurturing, and societal impact. Chief Executive of CAPACITI Digital Career Accelerator, Fiona’s passion for equity has charted pathways across numerous organisations, guiding bespoke Talent Initiatives, Future Leadership Development Programs, and transformative Career Pathway Development. Her tenure at Network Rail bore inclusive talent strategies, STEM advocacy, and innovative Graduate, Apprentice, and Internship initiatives. A trusted partner to a number of governmental, corporate and impact driven entities, Fiona empowers individuals and organisations, fostering diverse recruitment practices and innovative talent strategies. Fiona’s impact transcends the tech sector, positioning her as a leading voice for inclusive digital career initiatives.