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Renowned chef Shimamura Masaharu of Michelin-starred Osaka restaurant Unkaku has launched DiverseFarm, a partner venture with Tokyo-based cellular agriculture company TissueByNet. The startup will bring together Masaharu’s culinary expertise and TissueByNet’s food science know-how to offer an entire menu of cultured meat delicacies, from deep-fried cell-based duck to steamed cultivated chicken and aemono.
A collaboration between famed Japanese chef Shimamura Masahar and TissueByNet, the joint venture DiverseFarm will bring to the table delicious cultured meats – made ethically without the need for slaughter in a more environmentally-friendly production process and served by top culinary talent. The news of the launch was first reported by The Spoon.
TissueByNet’s proprietary technology involves 3D spherical globs of cells that are fed into “Net Mold” containers, where tissue is grown without the need of scaffolding structure that is typically required in cultivated protein production. Once the cell culture and spheroids culture are placed together in the Net Mold, they fuse and are ready to harvest between one to three weeks.
DiverseFarm will then use the cultured proteins made by TissueByNet to create Japanese delicacies, including deep-fried cultured duck meat mochi balls, roasted cultivated duck loin and steamed cultivated chicken and aemono among the seven menu items currently featured on its website.
It comes as interest in cultured protein reaches an all-time high in Japan, in line with the trend around the world, which has received a further boost in the wake of Singapore’s regulatory approval for the commercial sale of Eat Just’s cultivated chicken in December 2020.
Prior to that, Japan’s cultivated protein industry was already gaining momentum, notably with Tokyo-based food tech IntegriCulture being awarded a ¥240 million (US$2.2 million) grant from the government Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to build its commercial cellular agriculture facility in September.
The news was hailed as a huge step forward to propel the startup’s ambitions to launch its first publicly available cell-cultured product on the market, starting first with a cultured serum for cosmetic uses that is slated to debut as soon as Spring this year. IntegriCulture also revealed that cultivated steak and processed meat are in the pipeline for 2021 to 2023.
As a safer, healthier and more sustainable solution to produce protein and bolster food security against coronavirus-related supply chain shocks, Japanese authorities have additionally signalled that it has plans to draw up rules and regulations for cultivated foods.
Lead image courtesy of DiverseFarm.