Impact at Scale chatted with Paul Bevan, Founder and CEO of Magic Valley. Magic Valley is an Australian food company developing healthy and delicious cultivated meat products.
Some of the topics Paul covered:
- The growing market of businesses supporting impact
- The effectiveness of replicating the taste and texture of meat and letting people move towards the no meat direction themselves
- Paul’s hypothesis on why even after the 4 main factors the percentage of Vegans did not increase
- Understanding the process behind cultivated meat and where it comes from
- Magic Valley’s future plans
Some of the other titles we considered for this episode:
- Speak Up for People and for Animals
- Driving Lasting Behavioural Change
- Stop Dressing Up Plants as a Meat Product
- Transparency Is Key for the Consumer
This episode was produced by Stephanie Ng.
Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):
Michael Waitze 0:04
Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to Impact at Scale. Today we’re joined by Paul Bevan, the Founder and CEO at Magic Valley. Paul, thank you so much for coming on the show. How are you doing today? And Happy New Year, by the way.
Paul Bevan 0:19
Thanks, Michael, Happy New Year to you. Great to chat to you.
Michael Waitze 0:23
I’m excited. I’m excited. Before we get to the main part of our conversation, can we get just some of your background for some context, so people can know, like, where you’re from? And how you got to here?
Paul Bevan 0:31
Yeah, absolutely. It’s, it’s probably a pretty long story, to be honest. So, you know, we go back to the very, very early stages, which probably helped inform your listeners to exactly know how I got to where I am today. So look, I grew up as a lonely child with a with a hard working single mom, I was a really shy and really heavily introverted kid and spent a lot of time at home alone with our animals, and we had just, you know, a typical sort of suburban backyard in Australia. We had, you know, dogs, cats, mice, lizards, chickens, you know, you name it, we had it, we didn’t grow up, being you know, particularly, you know, wealthy family, and, you know, we ate a lot of meats and a lot of products, you know, like sausages, and recitals, and all those sorts of things. And I’d had an affinity with animals, and obviously, you know, didn’t didn’t so much understand, you know, where the meat products were coming from. But as I, you know, began to learn a little bit more, I went vegetarian as as a teenager, and, you know, back then I probably would have said, it was, you know, mainly for, for health reasons, you know, just being the environment that I grew up in, you know, around, you know, lots of older men in sporting clubs, I’ve been very active playing a lot of, you know, football and cricket, and those sorts of things. And in those environments, as soon as the man links to eat meat, you know, as, as the saying goes, and so, you know, looking back, you know, now I can identify that, you know, the reason that I did sort of stop eating meat was also to do with, you know, my affinity with with animals. Anyway, we fast Fast forward a few years, I went on to study economics and statistics at university went on to, you know, typically working at Yeah, exactly, exactly. Very, very, very standard. And so yeah, went on to a corporate career, working at Tabcorp. Also at NAB, and ANZ in which, you know, big format, here in Australia. And obviously, you know, had an interest in numbers, and in finance, obviously. But I also had an interest in in fitness and my health, and I’d always wanted to own my own business as well. So I ended up leaving a and Zed and founded what would become Melvin’s, biggest Mixed Martial Arts Centre and commercial gym, which is a very, very strange tangent to most people.
Michael Waitze 3:03
Don’t we have to talk about the MMA gym a little bit? I mean, there’s so much suffering. Can I jump in just for a second? If you don’t mind? Of course, you mentioned that because there’s so many little things here, right? That actually ended up if you accumulate them all end up being pretty big things. If you think about this idea of growing up with a single mom and growing up, you said, not very wealthy. I mean, I grew up the same way I called I grew up poor. So we just use some of the terminology, and all the challenges that come with just wondering like, what am I going to wear? And what am I going to eat? Or real things that people don’t talk about? And I’m curious about what that economic stuff because then into being a vegetarian, like all of the things about you, maybe stuck out just a little bit. Inside this world were like made culture and being like, a guy’s like, really powerful, right? That’s why you not, it’s not why but you were involved in sports, you did eat all the meat, you did do these things. You studied economics. You went into banking, it’s like, if you just backed up to space and watched you do it, it was all pretty typical. And yet, you were a vegetarian as a kid. Because as a teenager, I’m just saying as a kid, right? Did you take any flack for that from your other buddies? Like, we’re playing cricket with you who are playing rugby with you and stuff like that? Where they like, really no meat for you, dude, kind of thing?
Paul Bevan 4:16
I’m curious. Yeah. 100% Michael, there was there was a lot of backlash, you know, from from peers, so much peer pressure, you know, and all sorts of aspects of your life as you’re growing up as a teenager and particularly diet, you know, food, it’s very cultural, you know, even even back then trying to get vegetarian options was was really difficult. You know, your classmates would, you know, give you a lot of stick about it, but they would also, you know, eventually try and help you find options. But outside of that, you know, it’s yeah, it was it was very difficult. There was a lot of a lot of pressure, you know, around that, and that’s why, you know, back then I would have said, if someone had asked me it would be by morpher for health reasons, you know, or, you know, athletic reasons, you know, sporting performance, those sorts of things, as opposed to admitting to people that hey, actually, I really care about animals and I don’t feel comfortable with with eating meat products. But that’s not how it came out, then absolutely not. But as I said, looking back, that’s what I can see. And like, similar to you, like I said, we would have, you know, recitals and sausages, you know, for for dinner at night, and then that would leftovers would be repurposed for lunch the next day, and then you’d have it again dinner for the next night. You know, that’s, that’s the budget that we were working on. And that’s just what was the norm, in terms of, you know, what we could afford and what you would eat on a regular basis.
Michael Waitze 5:40
Do you think there was any connectivity to I mean, you were lucky, right? Because you played sports. So you said your mates were given you stick anyway. But the people outside of that circle, were probably a little bit more brutal. Do you think any of this led to the founding of the MMA gym like, okay, because this is a typical thing, if you go back and look at, you know, fighters all the way back to Muhammad Ali, the founding story, which is always a little bit made up, it’s like, you know, somebody stole my bicycle. And I went home and told my mom, I wanted to beat him up. And I didn’t know how I’m really curious about the MMA thing, not just so much, because I’m super into it. But MMA is pure. It’s like a pure sport. If you think about it, I’m eliminating UFC and Bellator. And, you know, one and all this other stuff, just the sport itself of, it’s you and me and minimal equipment. And there are rules, who’s going to win? I’m curious what led to that out of all the other things that was going on in
Paul Bevan 6:30
your life? Yeah, you raised some really interesting points. And it’s probably things that I haven’t joined the dots on previously, but I’ll, I’ll try. I’ll try and do that now out loud. But I think a lot of a lot of it has to do. I mean, I look, a lot of a lot of kids get bullied growing up. And, you know, unfortunately, that’s, you know, certainly a way of life when when I was growing up, if you’d look different, or you behave different, or eat differently or whatever. Exactly. So I think I think from from people that have that experience, and I think this is actually quite prevailing in the vegan or animal activism community, it’s about speaking up for, for people or for animals that sometimes, you know, unable to speak up for themselves. Right. And I think a lot of that comes through how that relates, I guess, to martial arts, I don’t proclaim to be the best martial artist in the world or an expert, but there’s certainly an element of, you know, self defence and confidence that comes with that, you know, and whether it’s martial arts or whether it’s just going to the gym, and you know, feeling better about yourself looking better. And that also giving you some confidence. I think there’s, I think there’s a lot of parallels there for sure.
Michael Waitze 7:43
Yeah. And I mean, if look, if you look culturally just based on my own experience, if you go out with a bunch of guys, because I want to get into why this matters, right for the world and why? Look, there’s this weird thing where, for some reason, having a stake if you sit down at a table, right, and you and I are having dinner together, and if I’m just having like a T bone, and you’re having a vegetarian choice, like the rest of the table, just gonna look over and go, really, and it’s such a weird thing for me like why food matters. It’s not even like, I don’t even know the right way to say this. But it’s not even like you’re doing something that’s not masculine or not strong. It’s just the perception of it. Right? So I wonder why like, why does that exist? Like, why is salad weak and meat strong? I don’t understand
Paul Bevan 8:25
a really interesting question. I don’t know the exact answer. Let’s
Michael Waitze 8:28
do it. It’s more just to think about it. But I’m just curious, like, what goes through your head because for you, right? You’re not a little person. You do sport, you play MMA. And yet, people still give flak for it. I want to find out why. First of all, that should change. But second of all, just why like food, the way food is produced, the things that we eat, why it’s so important, and what its impact is on the rest of the ecosystem in the world. Yeah,
Paul Bevan 8:55
look, I still feel weirdly stupid. There’s a bit of a bit of a reaction or a bit of a bullying aspects, to pointing out people’s food choices and people that are different, right? I don’t know why. But I still feel that occurs because people love to, like, if you’re having the vegetarian or vegan option, people love to comment on it and point out that you’re different. If you’re a vegetarian. You’re never pointing out anyone else’s food choices. It’s ever really quite strange.
Michael Waitze 9:24
Like, could you imagine a reverse? Do you imagine a reverse let’s say you go out to dinner with somebody you don’t know or whatever, or maybe a group of friends with people. And you want to, you know, the thing that you like, whatever it is, and they ordered just like, again, like a T bone with a side order of, I don’t know, pork ribs, and you’re just like, Really, dude, you’re gonna eat that and hear all the 17 reasons why you you wouldn’t do it. You should. But you wouldn’t, right?
Paul Bevan 9:51
That’s right. I mean, you know, people’s food choices. Uh, yeah, yeah,
Michael Waitze 9:57
they’re their own. Anyway. Um, What is it about this? Like? How does technology play a role in this? What are the things that we should really know about the impact of people’s food choices on the way the world works? And the way that the impact that it has on the environment?
Paul Bevan 10:13
Yeah, well, I guess, you know, there’s a whole lot of impact. So choices have, I mean, obviously, there’s a lot of a lot more now, I guess, around impacts on climate impacts that we’ve seen with, you know, particularly with plastic and, you know, removing plastics and those sorts of things, or, you know, any unsustainable materials. And obviously, you know, there’s a huge impact associated with, you know, animal agriculture, you know, on the environment, as well, in terms of the amount of land use and water use and greenhouse gas emissions that are that are created from that from that intensive animal agriculture process, amongst other things.
Michael Waitze 10:53
So I like to look at everything in a historical context, right? So work with me on this a little bit. And I’m not always right, this is just the way it looks like to me, right? So if you just go back, I don’t know, 1000 years ago, before we had like, a tonne of tools, just getting food at scale, right. Just sustaining yourself just having sustenance was hard. And people would just like leave wherever they lived, and go out and either pick berries, or kill things to eat them. And in a way, it didn’t really impact the ecosystem that much, right. So if you were living in the northeastern United States or living somewhere else, and you killed a deer, like it was one deer, there weren’t that many people around. And it didn’t really matter that much. When did we switch from just like, I’m trying to sustain myself to mechanised slaughter of animals, right? Because we had slaughterhouse 451. I think in the 1920s or 19. Teens, I can’t remember what it was right saying like, the slaughterhouses are terrible. So we tried to fix that. But everything’s just become more mechanised. And more like animal farming and stuff. I’m so curious, like, you talked about water impact, weather impact and stuff like that? Can you dig a little bit deeper? And tell me like when this started happening, and when it accelerated? Do you know what I mean?
Paul Bevan 12:04
Yeah, absolutely. So I think because probably from, from my knowledge from around the 60s, when, when it really sort of took off, we were were slaughtering around, I think around seven or 8 billion, billion land animals for meat at that stage. And obviously, as the population continues to grow, exponentially expand, there’s just an increased demand for, particularly for protein. And so you know, if we look, we’ve looked at the numbers. Now we’re slaughtering 73 billion land animals, mostly in
Michael Waitze 12:39
I think we can nudge us we cannot gloss over this. We’re killing 73 billion land animals. Is that a year?
Paul Bevan 12:48
But uh, yeah, Michael, that’s per year.
Michael Waitze 12:51
But let’s just think about it. Let’s just think about this at scale, right? Because 73 billion, it’s a gigantic number, we kind of take take for granted, like all the zeros. There are 8 billion people on the planet, but not all of them live in a place where they’re wealthy enough to actually eat all the land animals that are being killed. So let’s just cut it in half just for me. So now you have 4 billion people somehow consuming 70 something billion. What is that? 15 1618? Yeah, essentially 18 land animals for every human that’s participating in this. Sorry, go ahead. It’s just a gigantic number.
Paul Bevan 13:24
It’s incomprehensible. But but that’s not even including seafood, which is estimated
Michael Waitze 13:29
you said land them on purpose. Yeah, let’s be fair. Yeah,
Paul Bevan 13:31
go ahead. Yeah, well, well, the number, the estimated number for seafood per year is 2 trillion with a T.
Michael Waitze 13:40
Yeah, it’s a weird number though, right? Because you’ll eat one steak. I mean, you’ll, you’ll there’s one cow, but you could literally have one person in one eating could eat like 12 shrimp. So it’s a big number, I get it. But still, let’s just say it’s a lot.
Paul Bevan 13:53
It’s a lot. There’s a lot and you’re right, and like most of those land animals are chicken. In fact, you know, it’s over 70 billion are actually chicken. And there has been a shift, you know, from from beef to chicken progressively over the past probably five to 10 years. That continues but you know, as you would be aware, you know, what we now do to chickens, or how we breed chickens is breeding chickens has been so modified and the environment that they’re in where they you know, they can barely stand up, they can barely turn around, they can barely spread their wings is it’s just unbelievable.
Michael Waitze 14:28
Do you think it’s necessary to like, take people around and just show them how this stuff works? You know what I mean? Like you could explain until you’re blue in the face, just how bad this is for the environment and how bad it is for the world. But like one tour of a chicken Processing Factory could like take people off of chicken or beef or whatever it is for the rest of their lives. No,
Paul Bevan 14:47
it’s a really interesting observation because, you know, access to, you know, most of these processing plants is is not allowed. They certainly know that. Public toes, you know, there’s, there’s no footage allowed or anything like that, you know, in fact, you know, the industry, you know, is has been, for a long time implementing what’s called, you know, Ag Gag laws to prevent, you know, activist you know, going there and filming the process and and showing to the general public you know what happens inside a slaughterhouse and so you know, it’s really quite, it’s quite a controversial topic, to be honest around, showing people how their meat is currently produced, you know, on a widespread scale industrial, animal agriculture.
Michael Waitze 15:31
And how do we solve this? Right? I mean, because there are multiple avenues here, right. The first is, there’s a psychological part of this, right? In the sense that like, I’ve just been brought up like, my dad was in the meat business, this is a fact, we had steak, like almost every night for dinner. And the weird thing is, my grandfather was in the fruit business. Like we had no table covered. But the point is that, like, we grew up eating meat without even thinking about it, right. And but also, in the last 10 or 15 years, the technology around how we produce food has changed dramatically. And I’m really curious about the intersection of how technology helps solve this problem. And we can address sort of the psychological or the emotional issues of, should we really be eating that thing? And if we should, how should we be doing it? And how does tech solve this?
Paul Bevan 16:15
From my experience, I knew that people didn’t want to give up eating meat. And we really needed to create products that were real meat products that had the same taste, texture, and mouthfeel of the meat that they were used to eating. And if we could make that healthier for them to be the cost comparative or even cheaper, then you know, they should really become the obvious choice. Because we know that over time, we’ve seen that concern for the environment or concern for animal ethics, it’s not enough to drive lasting behaviour change. So as you mentioned, like culturally, Pete, people just want to eat meat, and they don’t, they don’t want to, they don’t want to eat mushrooms or tofu dressed up as meat, you know, we don’t we don’t need a better, you know, vegan or plant based products to have that impact. And the data supports that because meat consumption continues to rise year on year on year. If we have a look at dietary choices, if we look back just to 2019, vegans made made up 2% of the population. And now with all the new products and the awareness around, you know, animal welfare and ethics and the sustainability of products and food choices and people’s own individual health concerns. What do you think that percentage is now Michael in 20? Well, 2023 Now what percentage of the population? Do you think that’s expanded to visa? You
Michael Waitze 17:45
said 2%? And what year was that from?
Paul Bevan 17:47
Michael Waitze 17:49
three years ago? 2%? I don’t know. 7%? I have no idea.
Paul Bevan 17:54
It’s good guess it’s still 2% Oh, my God. Okay, it’s still 2%. Why is that though? Well, my hypothesis is this. So the plant based product sales data also backs this up, consumers are promised a healthier, sustainable, ethical option by plant based meat companies, and their interest is piqued consumers are interested in that option. So they give these plant based meat products a try, but they only try it once. There’s no repeat sales. Because the reason is because the products don’t taste anything like what the consumer has been promised that they don’t taste anything like meat, because plants are not met. Consumers want what they’re accustomed to eating the flavours, the mouthfeel, they want it to taste like meat. And so the only way to provide a healthy, sustainable, ethical meat product that actually tastes like meat is by cultivating a real meat product in the lab not trying to dress up plants as a meat product, because that’s just not what consumers want. I
Michael Waitze 19:03
feel like I don’t have the answer to this right. And I don’t think anybody has the answer to this yet. But I talk a lot about, you know, going on just for the podcast and this concept of like what a blind date is like, and you’ll see where this is relevant in a second. You know what I mean? So if you and I, when we do the prep call, right? We talked about this, the idea for me for the recording is it’s a way for us to kind of get to know each other to feel it out. And as we go deeper into the conversation, we can learn more and more about each other. A blind date is like this. But one of the things I like to say is that on a blind, you don’t order dinner for somebody else because they leave feeling unsatisfied, right? Like I really wanted to have that thing on the menu, even to the whole menus grade. That thing, whatever it is, is great. But this is what I really wanted. And sometimes I feel that way about like plant based food, unless it’s a salad, which isn’t insanely great. But if it’s meant to be something else, it’s always going to lag a little bit and I feel like there’s this sense of that was really good. It was really good for me. But it’s unsatisfying. So the question really is As you know, and then you go out and you buy some fries, and you’re like, Why did I just have a healthy, sustainable and ethical meal? If all I was gonna do was go to Mickey D’s when I was done and have some fries, right? It just doesn’t mean anything. But there is that sense of I’m not satisfied. So there are really two big questions here. The first is, is that a change that’s just going to take place over time as people feel more and more comfortable eating plant based stuff? Like if you just feed it to your kids, when you’re little when they’re little? They don’t know and crave the other thing? Or is there a natural human desire for protein in that format? So that this idea of manufacture it and if I use the wrong terminology, correct me, because I’m not always right here. But if we do have this manufactured, or in the lab built meet, that that’s always going to be there? Do you know what I mean? Those seem like the two big things at scale that could happen. Obviously, you’ve made your bed, right?
Paul Bevan 20:53
Absolutely. Again, I guess my opinion is a little bit different to the A lot of people in this space, because I think the consumption of cultivated meat is going to increase rapidly as the products come come to market. And we’ll see a large take up. And I don’t see a lot happening in the plant base space in the in the short term. And and when we say plant base, I guess now, when we’re talking about, you know, sellers and things like that, I’m talking about, you know, the the meals that are not, as you mentioned, you know, purported to be something else to be a meat product or a chicken product. It’s just, you know, your fruit and vegetables, let’s say. So I think there’s that demand, as you said, for no animal protein and protein to be consumed in this way. I think if we replicate those, those products through cultivated meat, there’ll be a large uptake of that. And I think, you know, as we get decades and decades into the future, I think then is when people will start looking. Because of the way they’ve been brought up, you know, the options will be you know, cultivated meat, and there’ll be fruit and vegetables, I think that’s the time that when people start eating more fruit and vegetables, and then that’s when that will become more popular as people have a look at, you know, the benefits of eating the, you know, the fruit and vegetables, it’s, it’s healthy, they enjoy it, they feel good after they eat it. And then they’re able to get their protein, you know, either from plant based options or from cultivated men.
Michael Waitze 22:24
Can we talk about how cultivated meat gets made? And just the level of safety around it as well, so people can feel more comfortable? Just how does this work? Right? Because again, if I walk into a supermarket, right, I’m hungry and I want to buy something for dinner, I can just buy a steak. It’s still there, I can buy it, it looks delicious, no problem. Or I can buy cultivated meat, which probably has to be labelled I’m guessing. I haven’t seen it to be fair in my supermarkets. But then there’s plant based meat. So there are all these choices. Right? Are we going to get to a point where it doesn’t have to say cultivated on anymore, because people just believe that it’s all okay. And it just says meat? Do you know what I mean? Like, and how does it work? How do you get to there?
Paul Bevan 23:03
Absolutely. So in terms of retail outlets, there’s there’s no cultivated meat products currently available for sale in a retail environment. There is an approved product in Singapore, through through food service. So we’re a little way up, I expect that to happen this year to for retail options to be available. And I imagine that the product labelling is currently widely debated topic, you know, and how these products will need to be to be labelled does it need to be cultivated meat? What is the terminology that it’s going to have to have on the packet industry industry incumbents as we’ve seen with plant based meat products, and it’s already been a lot of issues around labelling, you know, plant based meat companies calling their chicken chicken and you know, making sure it’s identified to, you know, say plant base and all those sorts of things. And we’ve had a number of inquiries here and in Australia around labelling laws as well as it’s been, you know, the case across across the world. I think initially, there will be some pretty specific guidelines around labelling that will identify, you know, the difference between the products, whether it’s plant based, whether it’s cultivated, whether it’s traditionally farmed, and I think transparency with those products is really important for the consumer, I think it’s really important that the consumer does know the process as we were discussing before, you know, Where Where does your chicken come from? Does it come from this factory farm or does it come from this environment in a lab where it’s been cultivated? Or is it or is plant based? So I think that’s really important for the consumer to be aware of that way we will get to I’m hoping is that you know, meat will just be made Yeah. And it will be you know, in decades from from now cultivated may We’ll just be made similar similar to how, you know, I guess, you know, mobile phones are now just phones.
Michael Waitze 25:06
How does this stuff get produced? Like what is the basis for the production of cultivated meat? Right? And how does it fit into animal care? In other words, caring about animals?
Paul Bevan 25:20
Yeah, absolutely. So there’s a few different ways different companies are going about producing the cultivated meat products, I guess, in a general sense, we’re basically taking a small sample of cells from an animal in our case, and I guess I’ll talk to what we do at least Magic Valley because I obviously know that process, we take a small scraping of it’s just a skin scraping, so a small scraping of cells from an animal initial instance, it was from a lamb, which we named Lucy. So we just take that skin scraping of cells, Lucy goes on to continue living her normal lamb wife grows up into a sheep, which is now and continues to live out her her natural life. So we have no more involvement with Lucy, other than taking that small skin scraping of cells. Now we take those cells into the lab, we add some various nutrients to the cells. So if you think about glucose, amino acids, etc, and we grow those cells up, so those cells multiply and expand, we add some different growth factors to those cells, some signalling pathways that enable us to direct those cells to become what’s called an induced pluripotent stem cell. From that stage, we can then direct those cells to become muscle, fat, bone, connective tissue, blood organ, any cell or tissue type in the body. By continually adding those nutrients to the cells that continue to multiply and expand. We then combine those cells that we’ve grown up so the muscle, the fat, primarily to combine together to create real meat products. So there’s no more animal involvement in the process whatsoever. We don’t use foetal bovine serum, we don’t use any animal derived components in the process at all. Actually, ethically, it doesn’t make any sense to be creating a cultivated meat product that involves any animal slaughter. So that has been a stance of ours from the start. So yes, there’s no having to go back to the animal, there’s no harm to the animal. It’s really aside from that initial screen scraping, really animal product free.
Michael Waitze 27:35
I mean, look, it almost sounds like cloning to me. It’s
Paul Bevan 27:39
obviously there’s a lot of publicity around Dolly the sheep that was many, many years ago.
Michael Waitze 27:46
Yeah, I don’t care. But this idea of like the progression of science, right, this ability to be able to literally just take like a skin scraping and turn it into any body part, whether it’s muscle tissue, hard tissue, liver, whatever it is, and then to have these growth, not inhibitors, but growth enhancers, to allow it to grow into this thing that they can turn it into meat, kind of amazing.
Paul Bevan 28:09
No, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, we’re really replicating what happens within the animal’s body, exactly what happens within the animal’s body, but just within the within the lab environment. And, yeah, it sounds very technical and very scientific. And it is, but we’ve been doing similar processes. In terms of cell culturing and cell biology and tissue engineering, medical science for many, many years. It’s just now being adapted to food. What are the benefits
Michael Waitze 28:37
of this? Like, why is this so much better? And I guess the flip side of that, let’s answer that first, right? Because the flip side of that question is, if we’re not eating, if we’re not killing existing animals, what happens to the animal population? Like, is there any downside to this, right? Because for every action, there’s a reaction, right? And if we’re no longer slaughtering cows, or slaughtering sheep, or slaughtering deer, like, what’s the impact there? Right, first of all, what’s the benefit side of it, but is there a detriment as well?
Paul Bevan 29:08
So it’s a really good question. There’s a number of benefits as we described, you know, obviously to the animals concern there’s huge benefits to them. There’s benefits to mitigating climate change because based on the studies that have been done a complete replacement of conventionally farmed meat with cultivated meat would see us reduce greenhouse gases gas emissions by 92%. Land use by 95% and water use by 78%. And those numbers are huge that land then that we’re not using for for for grazing and things like that for for animal agriculture can be repurposed, obviously, for many different purposes. And the other benefit, I guess, really is the human health benefit as well in the products that we’re able to create can have a tailored nutritional profile so we can reduce saturated fat which many people have concerns around with their meat concern. option we can add in omega threes, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, whatever the case may be, because we’ve got that ability to do that in the controlled environment within within the lab, I guess in terms of unintended consequences. Now, a lot of people ask about what’s going to happen to all those animals? Well, I mean, that’s going to happen over time. So you know, that’s we’re not just going to stop, you know, immediately, that’s going to be a progressive thing. And there’s obviously people involved in in those industries, whether it’s farming, you know, transport or, you know, all of those sorts of industries that, you know, over time, you know, there’s going to be, you know, a shift in skills and where the jobs are, and there’s going to be a transition phase there as well,
Michael Waitze 30:41
I always wonder, so in my lifetime, I feel like the world has become super ill. And I can always have a hard time pronouncing this word. So just bear with me for a second. But it’s become super oligopolistic. Right? In other words, in the old when you were a kid, and I’m probably a little bit older than you, but when I was a kid, you know, there were 75 manufacturers or sellers of chicken, and now there are three. And I’m always curious, right, they can see the future coming, wouldn’t they and again, oil companies same way. And you see Aramco actually doing this in f1. And I know it doesn’t seem like it’s related at all. But they’ve figured out we have all this oil just coming out of the ground. And it just basically pays us every day, if even if we do nothing, but people are not going to use oil forever. So we have to go into alternative fuels. And if you look at what Aramco is doing in their sort of f1 research arm, they’re trying to build alternative fuels. So in this oligopolistic world, you would think that the food producers as well would look deep into the future and think, Okay, we’re the Food companies, we have to own this space, regardless of how we get the food. Shouldn’t they be investing heavily in this technology as well? Yeah,
Paul Bevan 31:49
it’s a it’s a really interesting concept. And I often think of blockbuster and Netflix. And I think codecs are another example as well, you know, there’s really large incumbents that quite often don’t don’t take action, you would think that with foresight, that’s a, that’s exactly what they should do. And so, but there are a number of traditional protein producers that are investing in the space, but they’re only dabbling in the space to see, to see to see where it might might go. So my knowledge, which, you know, he’s certainly not complete, yet. There’s no major moves in that direction. So far, but you know, but behind closed doors, you know, perhaps there is, but to my knowledge, so far, there hasn’t been, you know, that huge scale of invest in all that massive switch. I mean, the technology is still fairly new as well. And that won’t happen over time. Yeah,
Michael Waitze 32:36
it might. But here’s the thing. You know, Kodak is something that I cite often, right? Because I was there, like I saw a Kodak digital camera in the 1980s. I didn’t, I was like, wow, that’s super cool. And then everybody else started coming out with them, and Kodak didn’t. But the thing that the one thing you can say is that Kodak didn’t have the historical perspective of technology coming in and like ruining other companies, right? They invented it at some level. And maybe they just thought, Okay, we’ll get to it. But we have historical perspective. 40 years later, where, I don’t know, whoever the big food producers are in the world can look and go, Oh, this is coming the same way that digital camera came, we better get in front of it. And I don’t I just don’t see it happening yet. I’m just curious. Why? Like, there’s no real answer to it. It’s just I just wonder why they don’t do it. Because they’re gonna get this intermediated Yeah,
Paul Bevan 33:24
absolutely. And it might just be a bit of a wait and see on the technology. And they might be doing it behind closed doors, you know, I had the same viewpoint. It would be madness not to, to see this coming.
Michael Waitze 33:37
So talk to me about the status of Magic Valley a little bit, and then I’ll let you go like, where is it? What is it? How’s it going? Has it been funded? What’s the output? Like? Like, what is the status now?
Paul Bevan 33:46
Yeah, sure. So we, we recently produced our lamb prototypes, which we formed into burgers and tacos. So that’s basically like an unstructured meats or ground meat, which Yeah, we’re super, super excited about to complete that, that milestone for us. We’re looking to scale up production now. So we’re actually we’re actually doing a capital raise at the moment. A little bit of a trickier environment. That has been the case recently. But yeah, we’re doing a raise. Now to scale up our production. We’re also expanding into species or products as well with pork being our our next one, and we’re almost completed our pork product type. And look, our plan is to create real meat cultivated products for all farmed animal species, and eventually seafood as well, with the platform, the technology platform that we’ve got, we’re able to do that. And to do that at scale and do it animal product free. And so yeah, we’re really excited about where we’re at and what’s to come in 2023 and beyond.
Michael Waitze 34:47
Awesome. You know, when I asked you the question about what the status of the company was, you didn’t quote sort of grimace, you smile, and I feel a sense of pride there. It’s like I had this idea, or we had this idea, right, because nobody succeeds alone. And everybody I know And this is the part I’m really curious about, you know, when you quit your banking job or whatever traditional thing you were doing, it’s the same way as sitting around a table with a bunch of 17 year olds and going, I’ll just have the mangoes while you’re having the T bone. Do you know what I mean? It’s like when you quit your job, your family, your friends, like, Dude, what are you doing? Like you have a good job, you’re working at a bank, this is what everybody wants to do for reasons I don’t anymore understand, because I did the same thing. But that’s just the way society works. When you leave. People are like, Is he insane? And now that you’ve produced it, you’ve gotten to the point where it’s actually working, are people now coming back to you? And just going like, Dude, you kind of did it in a way like, it’s not as big as you want it to be yet. But the things you said you wanted to do your doing? Do you don’t I mean,
Paul Bevan 35:39
absolutely, Michael. And it’s funny. I don’t hear from those people anymore. I didn’t want to say that. But you don’t write you do not you do not go very quiet. So yeah, it’s certainly been, it’s only been an interesting and rapid journey. And yeah, it’s, it does make me smile a little bit. You, you bring that up?
Michael Waitze 36:00
Can you talk a little bit of just about the sense of pride that the team has of having an idea, planning around that idea and actually executing that idea? Absolutely.
Paul Bevan 36:08
Look, I’m a non technical founder, I’ve got, you know, a great technical team around me. Professor Andrew laslett, Dr. Jacob Goodwin, just, they’re just amazing biologists and scientists. And to be honest, humans, like the I couldn’t have wished for a better team to work with, you know, startups are hard, you know, technology startups, biotech startups are really hard. We’re doing something that, you know, hasn’t been done before. There’s a lot of downs. But there’s some, there’s some really amazing ups and hopefully, you know, more amazing ups to come. And so, you know, we’re all very much, you know, Mission aligned, in terms of what we do and our wider team as well. And so, you know, there’s a lot of camaraderie within our team, and you know, what we’re working towards, and the impact that it can have. And so they’re really the things that keep us going, when times get tough.
Michael Waitze 37:01
I have so many more things I want to cover. But we’ll do that in another show. Do you feel like you’re part of something bigger than what you’re building? At Magic Valley, not that it’s not big enough. That’s not the point. But that there’s this secular change taking place globally, and that if you travelled to Chicago, if you travelled to, you know, London, or to Paris or even to Beijing, and you can then meet with people like minded people that are trying to build the same thing, in the sense that it’s like, not yet to the point where it’s super competitive, it’s more just like, how did you do that? And how can we do that with our stuff to do you feel like you’re part of this bigger movement? Yes,
Paul Bevan 37:36
absolutely. The the companies within the cultivated meat space, and, you know, the other founders and people working in those companies, there’s a massive amount of camaraderie, there’s obviously, you know, there’s obviously, you know, IP issues and your trade secrets and things that companies are doing individually. But, you know, outside of that the communication flow and the support throughout the industry is it really is, it really has been, you know, amazing. We’ve got some great advisors and mentors from from other companies that are within the industry. You know, I was in Singapore at the end of last year for the Innovation Summit around agri foods. So there’s 1000s of people there from within the industry. And you know, it was an amazing event. And you know, there’s plenty of those events that are happening around the world throughout the year. And yet there really is, there really is a sense that everyone is working together towards the same goal that’s going to be beneficial for everyone at the end of the day.
Michael Waitze 38:34
Got it. How can people get in touch with you if they want to learn more about Magic Valley and just learn more about
Paul Bevan 38:38
you? Sure. Well, I’m all over LinkedIn. So you’re welcome to find me on LinkedIn. Yep. So just yet Paul Bevan on LinkedIn, or via the website https://magicvalley.com.au
Michael Waitze 38:50
got it. Paul Bevan, the Founder and CEO of Magic Valley, thank you so much for coming on and doing this today. That was really awesome.
Paul Bevan 38:57
Thanks, Michael. I really appreciate it. It’s been great to chat today.