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Meiji continues investment in California Cultured

Meiji continues investment in California Cultured Meiji Holdings Food and Beverage Business

Meiji Holdings Co. has reinvested in US cell-based cocoa start-up California Cultured, after its initial investment in 2021. Financial details were not disclosed. The Japanese food major is shifting its focus to high value-added cocoa and accelerating global expansion, according to a statement.

“Through our collaborations with California Cultured Inc., we are aiming to establish cocoa cell cultivation technology and build a sustainable cocoa value chain that resolves social issues and eliminates uncertainty in the supply of raw materials,” the Japanese company said.

“California Cultured, founded in 2020, extracts samples from a cocoa plant with ‘the best organoleptic properties’ and takes cells from them,” according to its website.

Meiji initially invested an undisclosed amount into the California-based cultured cocoa and coffee maker in November 2021 as part of its Meiji Cocoa Support (MCS) programme, which aims to support cocoa farmers.

Following the investment, cells are grown “in large condition-controlled tanks that mimic the conditions of the rainforests in which cacao and coffee thrive. After about 3-4 days, our coffee and cocoa cells are ready to be harvested, fermented and roasted.”

Meiji’s reinvestment in California Cultured comes after its announcement to invest Y48bn ($331m) in the construction of a new domestic dairy production facility in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido.

The company stated: “The yet-to-be-named site will replace the ‘deteriorating facilities’ at Meiji’s Nishi Shunbetsu and Honbetsu plants and allow for more ‘stable provision of dairy products’.”

During the nine months ended 31 December 2023, Meiji’s net sales rose 4.4% to Y833bn from Y798bn a year earlier. The company forecast a 26.5% drop in attributable profit to Y51bn, earnings per share of Y182.69, and a 3.4% increase in revenue to Y1.1tn for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2024.

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