Would you eat “shrimp” that never swam?
Cell-based shrimp startup nets $4.6M in funding
| Cathy Siegner, Apr 30, 2019
Food Dive – A company called Shiok, which means “delicious” in Singapore and Malay slang, is developing shrimp, crab and lobster products by using stem cells taken from the crustaceans and feeding the cells a nutrient mix.
The company says the result is friendlier to animals, human health and the environment.
It also has the same taste and texture as the real thing, the company says, while providing a cleaner and safer alternative to the shrimp industry.
The traditional shrimp industry in Asia is said to be environmentally harmful and dominated by slave labor. As many as 30% of products sold as shrimp and tested are actually something else, Forbes reported.
And of the 100 million pounds of shrimp the U.S. imports annually, the magazine says 20 pounds of bycatch — other creatures caught and killed along with the targeted species — are taken for each pound of harvested wild shrimp. Is Our Sushi Safe? Tuna Imports Locked Down
The demand for seafood remains high around the world, but particularly in Asia because of culinary preferences, according to TechCrunch. China consumes about 65 million tons of seafood annually.
It’s followed by the European Union with 13 million tons, Japan at 7.4 million tons, Indonesia with 7.3 million tons and the U.S. at 7.1 million tons, CleanTechnica reported.
Shiok Meats may be the only “clean meat” business headquartered in Singapore — and it appears to be the only cell-cultured shrimp producer out there now — but other startups are busy working on cell-cultured tuna and developing plant-based fish and seafood substitutes for similar environmental and food safety reasons.
Although a market with a variety of cell-cultured and plant-based fish alternatives could help normalize the product for consumers, Shiok will have competition.
Finless Foods is trying to develop a cell-cultured alternative to endangered Bluefin tuna.