German food tech company Bluu Seafood, is showing off its first cell-based fish as it readies for regulatory approval processes across Europe, Asia, and North America.
Bluu is the first European-based cultivated fish producer to reveal market-ready products: fish sticks and fish balls. Both are made from a “one-time” fish biopsy that didn’t take the life of the animal. Cell lines were developed from the single extraction and cultivated in bioreactors.
This technology—what’s called “immortalized cells”—reduces the need for additional animal samples, proving an independent supply chain is possible without repeated cell samples needed.
“That is the amazing thing about ‘immortalized’ cells—while ‘normal’ cells double for, let’s say, 20 times and then stop, the immortalized cells keep on doubling—theoretically forever,” Bluu co-founder Simon Fabich told TechCrunch.
Blluu, which launched in 2020, is working on Atlantic Salmon, rainbow trout, and carp. For now, it’s also sidestepping the more complicated whole muscle meat products like Wildtype’s whole cut Pacific salmon fillets, for fish sticks and fish balls. “From a product perspective, the structure of fish meat is easier to achieve than the more complex mammalian meat structure — think salmon fillet versus steak,” Fabich explained.
“We are working in parallel on more complex products such as fish fillet and sashimi, of which prototypes already exist,” Fabich said. “But those are without a doubt harder to scale, and it will take more time to achieve price parity with the conventional product.”
Bluu Seafood and CellX
In April, Bluu announced a strategic partnership with China’s CellX to address food security concerns.
CellX is the leading cultivated meat enterprise in China. TheShanghai-based operation debuted a number of products in 2021, most notably its cell-based pork.
CellX and Bluu are both proactive in moving the cultivated meat sector toward global regulatory approval. Chris Dammann, COO of Bluu Seafood, is a vice president and board member of Cellular Agriculture Europe. Representing for CellX is Ziliang Yang, founder and CEO, who has taken on the role of secretary of the APAC Society for Cellular Agriculture.
“China has the world’s largest consumption of seafood and is, therefore, a particularly important market for Bluu Seafood,” Fabich said in a statement in April. “Together with CellX, we are working to overcome the challenges in sourcing, scaling, and obtaining regulatory approval concerning cultivated fish and meat to bring affordable and tasty products to market.”
The strategic partnership includes collaborative support along the value chains of both brands including aw material sourcing, construction of regional production facilities, and potential sales partnerships. Together, the two aim to raise consumer acceptance levels for cultivated products and share supply partnerships.
“We are pleased to form this strategic partnership with Bluu Seafood as an industry leader in cultivated seafood and board member of Cellular Agriculture Europe,” Ziliang Tang, CEO at CellX said in a statement. “CellX and Bluu Seafood have a complementary focus regarding species and market geographies. This partnership will serve as a starting point for deeper collaboration between the two companies and will encourage more collaboration across the industry. We are solving a global issue, and this requires a global solution.”
Lead photo by Bluu Seafood.