Cultivated seafood company BlueNalu says it has ‘cracked the code’ to significant profitability with 75 percent gross margins achieved through breakthrough technology.
With its first large-scale facility and novel technology for its first product—bluefin tuna—San Diego-based BlueNalu says its operating and capital costs for production will yield a significant gross margin of 75 percent.
“We believe that BlueNalu is the only company in the cell-cultured seafood industry to overcome each of these technology and market challenges, which will result in a scalable and highly profitable solution with demonstrable consumer benefits,” Lou Cooperhouse, co-founder, president and CEO at BlueNalu, said in a statement. “We are pleased to announce today that we have ‘cracked the code’ for creating significant profitability with our cell-cultured bluefin tuna toro and a series of other higher-value products that will follow.”
Cultivated meat scalability, affordability
The biggest challenges facing the cultured meat category include scalability and costs. BlueNalu says it has overcome these challenges, which will help advance it to market.
One of the pieces to the puzzle is a non-GMO, single-cell suspension line with growth rates aimed at accelerating the scale-up to larger bioreactors.
BlueNalu’s 140,000 sq. ft facility will be able to produce six million pounds of seafood annually once operational in 2027. The company moved into its recently expanded 38,000 sq. ft pilot production facility earlier this year. It’s working there to scale its bluefin tuna and complete processes needed for regulatory approval, expected within the next few years.
“This also includes a revolutionary lipid-loading technique, that is projected to result in a significant reduction in capital expenditures and enable the company to make products with higher fat profiles and sensory attributes, such as the toro portion of bluefin tuna,” the company says. It has also designed downstream processes that allow continuous production and eliminate plant-based scaffolds, which it says can affect product cookability, scalability and flavor.
“Over the past four years, our team has achieved remarkable scientific milestones which enable us to overcome the fundamental technology barriers required for success,” said Lauran Madden, Ph.D., CTO at BlueNalu.
“In tandem with the plans for commercialization of our bluefin tuna, our team has continued to explore additional species using our platform technology,” she said. “So far, we have developed hundreds of cell lines for eight different finfish species, and we have initiated projects to expand into other premium seafood categories.”
BlueNalu validated its achievements with an in-depth techno-economic analysis performed in tandem with a leading global Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) firm and experts in bioprocess modeling. The analysis found using the single-cell suspension and lipid-loading tech could reduce costs by more than five times.
“We believe these landmark technologies, when combined with high-value, high-demand seafood products, are the winning equation to long term financial success,” said Amir Feder, CFO at BlueNalu. “Our projected 75 percent gross margin within the first year of production of our large-scale facility is unheard of in the food industry. This sets a very strong growth trajectory for the company, as we introduce additional products and establish new facilities around the globe.”
Lead image courtesy Blue Nalu.