Cell-based 3D-printed seafood could soon be on your plate courtesy of a new partnership between Umami Meats and MeaTech.
Singapore’s Umami Meats has been working to develop cultured seafood since its launch in 2020. Its most recent pre-seed funding round of $2.4 million will help it to scale its technology and prototypes. Through the partnership with Israel’s food tech company MeaTech, the companies say they’ve opened the door to the Asian seafood market.
3D cultured protein
“We are delighted to establish this collaboration with MeaTech to expand our product range with their 3D printing capabilities,” Mihir Pershad, Umami Meats’ Chief Executive Officer and Founder, said in a statement.
“This partnership will enable us to build upon our technology platform for cultivating fish muscle and fat to produce a variety of structured products that meet the desires of discerning consumers,” Pershad said.
“We believe cultivated seafood holds tremendous potential to provide a local, sustainable source of healthy protein and to address many of the challenges facing our food system and our oceans.”
Singapore is already ripe for entry as the only country that has approved the production and sale of cultured meat. California’s Eat Just brought its cultivated chicken meat to the market nearly two years ago.
Through the new collaboration, MeaTech’s 3D bioprinting will be used to produce the complex protein structure of various seafood items. MeaTech has been strategic in its collaborations, working with its tech to develop a wide range of proteins from species including bovine, avian, and porcine.
“We are very pleased about this new agreement which reflects our commercialization strategy of industry collaboration using our unique 3D printing capabilities,” Arik Kaufman, MeaTech’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder said. “We are excited about entering into the seafood sector and believe it will lead us to new market pathways throughout Asia and worldwide.”
The seafood market
The global seafood market is valued at more than $110 billion and growing at a CAGR of 3.6 percent. But the industry faces a number of threats including climate change, overfishing, ocean pollution, and increasing consumer demand.
An increasing number of companies are innovating in the alternative seafood space, from cultivated whole-cut seafood to plant-based options. Recently, Aqua Cultured Foods debuted its whole-cut fish made through microbial fermentation.
“The feedback and discussions with companies we’re meeting have made us extremely optimistic about go-to-market and co-branding opportunities,” Aqua CGO Brittany Chibe said after a recent taste test of the product. “Whether it’s rising costs, supply chain concerns, or sustainability goals, we are seeing major interest from potential partners that want to develop products with our seafood or offer it on menus.”