Image courtesy of Aleph Farms
In January 2023, Stray Dog Capital’s portfolio company, Aleph Farms’ cultivated beef steak products were ruled to be kosher by the Israeli Chief Rabbi. Aleph Farms is the first alternative protein company who’s products have received a ruling of this kind, and the implication is that these items are permitted for consumption by Jews under religious law.
This ruling sets a precedent for other cultivated meat companies to seek approval on their products and paves the way for an inclusive alternative protein industry wherein consumers of varying religious backgrounds may enjoy these items.
Aleph Farms, as a company, is already in touch with Muslim, Hindu, and other religious authorities to seek further authorization and are eager to continue building an inclusive network around food security.
Co-Founder and CEO, Didier Toubia said on this “we’re excited that more groups of diners can enjoy our products regardless of their religion, helping us to advance our inclusive vision for food security and tap into different food cultures around the world.”
While there are no exact statistics on the number of individuals globally who adhere to a plant-based or otherwise modifed diet for religious reasons, it is known that several million people do. In India alone there are a reported 400 million vegetarians motivated by the region’s three most dominant religions; Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddism. Similarly, within Israel close to 20% of the population are reportedly vegan or vegetarian with many being motivated by kosher standards, and other Jewish guidelines.
These figures speak to a large portion of the human population which fall outside of the realm of consumers purchasing conventional animal protein products. However, in light of the recent ruling made by Israel’s Chief Rabbi, these consumers may soon be able to incorporate cultivated meat products into their diets.
While some religious leaders have taken an opposing stance to the Chief Rabbi on this subject, many others are still in a deliberative stage with the general consensus being that if these products can be proven to mitigate the effects of climate change, and provide an ecological betterment then it is preferable to consume these over any others.
In the words of one such leader: applying ancient law to brand new technology is fascinating.
Regardless of how each religion’s expert counsel rules on the subject of cultivated meat, the precendent has been set that the consumption of these products will likely come down to a matter of personal preference, rather than religious law.