A new start-up business believes it has the right design to disrupt the red meat supply chain, by slaughtering cattle on-farm in a mobile abattoir.
Farmgate MSU won the judges and people’s choice award in front of 10 other ag-tech entrepreneurs at the Sprout X opening pitch night in Melbourne late last week.
Chris Balazs, a founder of Farmgate MSU, said its design would change the industry for good.
“The concept basically is instead of the animals going to the abattoir, the abattoir goes to the farm. On a commonsense level it just makes eminent sense,” he said.
“There’s a lot of the small and medium scale farmers who are having trouble getting their cattle either to abattoirs or getting booked in with the abattoirs.
“And that is because there has been 75 per cent constriction in the number of abattoirs in the last generation.
“So there’s very strong demand from farmers and consumers to have mobile slaughter units come into existence.”
The team has brought together a farmer, vet, chef and educator over the past 10 months to examine how other countries are already using mobile slaughter units.
But there are significant challenges ahead for the start-up in Australia when it comes to meeting the strict food safety regulations that differ from state to state.
Chris Balasz does not shy away from the fact that this is a disruptive technology that could well have an impact on the meat industry workers.
Mr Balasz said the Australian design would succeed because the demand from primary producers and consumers made the meat industry a perfect target for disruptive technology.
“The best part of a real disruptive technology is that there’s a real to demand from the sector wanting it, and we know we have got it,” he said.
“We have got a large network of farmers who are telling me everyday: ‘I can’t wait for this to come to fruition’ and in addition to that there is a really strong consumer demand around high provenance meat.
“So I think from a farmer’s perspective and an animal welfare perspective and then end-consumer perspective, this is just an idea that it’s a matter of time before it happens.”