Global food company Cargill has invested in Israel-based cultured meat company Aleph Farms, which focuses on growing complex meat varieties such as steak.

The company participated in Aleph Farms’ Series A investment round of $11.65m led by VisVires New Protein along with other investors seeking to move the meat company’s product from prototype to the commercial marketplace.

Cargill Protein North America growth ventures and strategic pricing managing director Sonya Roberts said: “Cargill is committed to innovation and we are delighted to be a part of Aleph’s accelerated growth.

“This partnership connects new frontiers in cell-based technology with insights in the global food system and supply chains to meet future customer and consumer needs.”

According to Cargill, the demand for protein is expected to grow 70% over the next three decades, and the investment is expected to complement its focus on animal protein and meet future consumer demand.

“We believe in the power of protein and the critical role animal protein will continue to play in nourishing the world for the long-term.”

Aleph Farms, which grows meat directly from beef cells using a 3D tissue engineering platform, achieved a world-first by demonstrating it could grow a steak directly from bovine cells last December.

Additionally, the company is planning to build bio-farms and move towards a limited consumer product launch with steak grown under controlled conditions over the next three-to-five years.

Cargill Protein North America president Jon Nash said: “We all need to work together to address the increasing global need for protein in the coming years, especially as more consumers move into the middle-class and the demand for protein increases. We have a responsibility to look at all innovations that can help us feed the world.

“We believe in the power of protein and the critical role animal protein will continue to play in nourishing the world for the long-term.”

The investment in Aleph Farms is expected to complement the company’s investment in its traditional animal protein portfolio, which has totalled more than $1.5bn over several years.