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Singapore food tech Shiok Meats has opened the doors to its “mini-plant”, the first-of-its-kind R&D facility dedicated to cultivated seafood in the city in a ceremony inaugurated by the city’s state environmental minister.
Shiok has officially opened the doors to its mini-plant on Monday (November 22), marking the first-ever cell-based seafood advanced R&D facility to land in Singapore. Located at the startup’s headquarters at Innovate 360, the opening was inaugurated by Singapore’s sustainability and environmental minister Grace Fu, who described the plant as a “welcome addition to our sustainable agri-food ecosystem.”
Cell-based seafood mini-plant
Dubbed Shiok’s Mini-Plant, the facility was conceptualised with sustainable solutions firm Black & Veatch and encompasses capabilities in process optimisation, technology transfer, and data-based development for cell-based seafood. FoodNet International Holdings was chosen to construct the plant.
The facility will also help Shiok plan out viable scale-up and manufacturing models for the future as it looks to commercialise its suite of cultivated crustacean meats, which currently includes shrimp, lobster, crab and crayfish.
“We have built a state-of-the-art facility which will be a stepping stone towards our pilot manufacturing plant in Singapore, serving as a great model for technology transfer between R&D scale and production scale,” explained Shiok COO Durgalakshmi Sathiakumar.
“Our processes, sustainable and traceable, are designed to help gauge the impact of the cultivated seafood technology. It’s one of the greatest scientific advancements of our time, steadily taken to the next level.”
Bringing cell-based seafood to consumers by 2023
Having recently secured additional funding from seasoned impact investors in a bridge round earlier this month, Shiok is now racing to bring its cell-based seafood solutions to consumers.
Being a homegrown Singaporean firm will no doubt make the process to market smoother, with the city-state remaining the first and only country in the world to have approved the commercial sale of cultivated meat. Back in December 2020, Eat Just was given the go-ahead to sell its cultured chicken.
After debuting the world’s first cell-based crab this year, adding to its portfolio of shrimp and lobster, Shiok says it hopes to be able to land on diners’ plates by 2023.
“As we prepare for commercialization in 2023, we want to ensure a comprehensive manufacturing model and top-notch products,” shared Shiok CEO and co-founder Dr. Sandhya Sriram, who described the mini-plant as a “milestone” towards its next step, which is to open a production facility in 18 months.
Shiok is hopeful that the positive consumer perception it has received will make its product a success in Singapore and the wider Asian region, which will account for the bulk of the seafood demand growth in the coming years.
In two of its consumer studies, the startup found that over 78% of Singapore residents are open to trying cell-based seafood, whilst in Hong Kong, the figure is at 95%.
All images courtesy of Shiok Meats.