Below is our recent interview with Ed Steele, CO-Founder of Hoxton Farms:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Hoxton Farms?
A: At Hoxton Farms we grow real animal fat – without the animals. Starting from just a few cells, we grow purified animal fat in bioreactors to produce cultivated fat, a cruelty-free and sustainable ingredient that will finally unlock meat alternatives that look, cook and taste like the real thing.
The traditional meat industry is unsafe and unsustainable. Demand for meat alternatives is soaring, but they still aren’t good enough. They don’t taste right and they aren’t healthy. They are missing the key ingredient: fat.
Current techniques for culturing animal cells are too expensive. We use mathematical and computational modelling to massively reduce the cost of cell culture, driving a production process that is cost-effective at scale.
Q: Why create Hoxton Farms now? How did the idea behind Hoxton Farms come about?
A: The story of Hoxton Farms goes back a really long way – we met at nursery twenty-five years ago and have been friends ever since. After 15 years at school together, we went off in different technical (and geographical) directions: Ed to study Maths at Oxford and Max to study Biology at Cambridge. We kept brainstorming about ways to solve some of the biggest problems affecting the future of food.
As avid home chefs, we realised that plant-based meat desperately needed better fat. Plant oils were holding back an entire industry: if we could develop a better alternative, we could finally help plant-based meat grow from a small industry of burgers and sausages to one that rivalled the traditional meat industry in every recipe, on every plate, in every corner of the world. We ran sensory trials with our friends and proved that adding animal fat to existing plant-based meat made it tastier and much more realistic.
In early 2020, just before the pandemic, we met up in a pub in Hoxton and decided it was the right time for us to start the company that had been on our minds for so long: Hoxton Farms was born. (As an added bonus, it turns out that Hoxton is named after “Hogesdon”, an Anglo-Saxon farm.)
Q: You’ve recently raised £2.7 Million in Seed funding; can you tell us something more?
A: Founders Fund led our round, and some great funds participated in the round, including BACKED VC, Presight Capital, CPT Capital and Sustainable Food Ventures. It’s really exciting to have a diverse set of investors who all bring something different to the table.
Q: What are your plans for the future? Do you have any new features in the pipeline?
A: Our focus, for now, is on hiring a talented team for our research and development phase. We’re establishing our lab in Shoreditch and hiring for roles that include Scientist, Senior Scientist, Computational Biologist, Senior Computational Biologist, and Bioprocess Engineer.
From there we’ll be working towards a scalable prototype of our cultivated fat over the next year to eighteen months. At that point, we will start building out our pilot plant and working with commercial partners to get ready for launch.
Q: What’s the best thing about Hoxton Farms that people might not know about?
A: Rather than base ourselves in a science park, we have converted an office in Old Street into our brand new lab space. Old Street is the heart of the tech scene in London and it felt appropriate for us to make sure that we are part of this amazing community. We want the interdisciplinary nature of what we do to come through in the culture we are building, and physically locating ourselves at the epicentre of London’s tech scene is a great way to do this.Activate Social Media: