BettaF!sh launches salmon analog product SAL-NOM; Wanda Fish announces bluefin tuna toro analog

BettaF!sh's SAL-NOM salmon analog product
BettaF!sh's SAL-NOM salmon analog product I Photo courtesy of BettaF!sh
4 Min

SeafoodSource is closely following the plant-based and cell-based seafood alternatives market by compiling a regular round-up of updates from the sector.

- UMAMI Bioworks and Shiok Meats, leaders in cultivated food product development, have merged to form a new entity aimed at commercializing cultivated seafood. The merger combines UMAMI Bioworks' production technologies with Shiok Meats' research in crustacean cell cultivation. 

The partnership is expected to optimize market strategies, broaden commercial opportunities, and expedite regulatory approvals for cultivated seafood products, providing a sustainable alternative to traditional fishing and aquaculture practices, CULT said.

UMAMI Bioworks CEO Mihir Pershad will lead the newly formed company.

- Plant-based food company Wicked Kitchen and its associated brands Good Catch and Current Foods were acquired by Ahimsa Companies on 5 June. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

"We've said all along that consolidation will drive success for the plant-based industry," Ahimsa Companies CEO Matt Tullman said in a release. "As Ahimsa Companies brings together more brands, it can leverage this strength to help stabilize and shape the new landscape for the plant-based industry”

Wicked Kitchen revealed Ahimsa Companies plans to acquire multiple other brands shortly, including manufacturing and sales enablement businesses.

- Berlin, Germany-based seafood analog startup BettaF!sh has introduced SAL-NOM, its salmon analog made from European seaweed. 

SAL-NOM was developed in Berlin by a team of seaweed enthusiasts, food technologists, and chefs, the company said. SAL-NOM was created to look and taste like salmon, made from organic seaweed, fava bean, and pea proteins and offers a soy- and wheat-free option rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber.

“SAL-NOM is not just a product; it showcases our dedication to innovation, sustainability, and taste,” BettaF!sh CEO Deniz Ficicioglu said in a release. “By leveraging the natural benefits of seaweed, we offer a fish alternative that is not only delicious but also significantly contributes to the protection of our oceans and personal health.”

- Ness-Ziona, Israel-based cultivated seafood company Wanda Fish launched its first cell-cultivated bluefin tuna toro sashimi. 

"The product has a buttery taste, making it tender and a coveted part of the bluefin tuna analog," Wanda Fish said in a release. The company's cell-cultivated sashimi mirrors the sensory qualities of wild-sourced toro sashimi, offering comparable nutritional benefits, particularly in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, it said.

“This is a significant milestone, as we were able to develop key technologies to create a whole-cut, from which sashimi or other versions can be made,” Wanda Fish told SeafoodSource. “Among these innovative technologies is our cultivated fish fat, which is produced using our patent-pending technology, forming a 3D shape of a whole-cut fillet and creating the unique fat marbling pattern characteristic of bluefin toro. The final result is more authentic and appealing to consumers.”

The technology used to create the fish analog combines muscle and fat cells from real bluefin tuna with a plant-based matrix to create a 3D fillet. 

The cell-cultivation process is quick, low in cost, and provides scalable production, the company said. The whole-cut downstream manufacturing method ensures the cultivated fish retains its velvety texture, rich flavor, and essential nutrients.

- Forsea Foods, a cultivated seafood startup headquartered in Rehovot, Israel, hosted the first official tasting of its cell-cultivated freshwater eel.

The private luncheon took place at a Tel-Aviv restaurant with 40 guests, including investors, journalists, key opinion leaders in the food industry, representatives from the Japanese embassy, and Japanese food companies based in Israel, the company said in a release. 

The menu included three culinary fish analog offerings, with Forsea’s cell-cultivated version of unagi kabayaki, or grilled eel, served on a bed of aromatic rice. 

“Forsea’s unique organoid technology has the potential to overcome many of the industry bottlenecks in bringing cultivated meat to the consumer plate,” Forsea CEO and Co-Founder Roee Nir said. “Since the start of the year, we made significant advancements in improving our cell lines. We also have been working diligently to enhance our recipes. This event was a great opportunity for us to present our unprecedented achievements to partners and industry stakeholders.”

The company used its patent-protected method to create an environment for fish cells to spontaneously assemble into 3D tissue structures, replicating the natural composition of fat, muscle, and connective tissue. The process mimics the natural growth of tissues in living fish, bringing cell-based technology closer to nature, according to Forsea.

“I would like to thank Forsea for choosing eel, an endangered species but indispensable for the Japanese and Asian diet,” Japan’s Deputy Chief of Mission to Israel Takahashi Seiichiro said. “While we Japanese have been eating eel for more than 5,000 years, we understand that cultivating eel is no simple task. Therefore, I believe that introducing the first cell-cultured eel is the accomplished result of great comprehensive corporate efforts.”

- Ahrensburg, Germany-based custom systems solutions company Planteneers is continuing its North American expansion by opening its Customer Center of Excellence in Aurora, Illinois, U.S.A., this summer. 

The facility will support Planteneers' mission of bringing functional ingredient systems to the plant-based food and beverage market, catering to flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan consumers.

The Aurora facility is equipped to host customers for collaborative product development sessions and includes a full plant-based meat laboratory, with a plant-based dairy laboratory expected to be operational shortly after the ribbon-cutting. 

The grand opening is scheduled for 26 June. Torsten Wywiol, CEO of Planteneers' parent company Stern-Wywiol Gruppe, will open the facility.

"Plant-based is becoming more important in the North American market,” Planteneers CEO Brian Walker said in a release. “New, innovative products that are similar to conventional animal products will be easier for consumers to integrate into their daily lives since they fit existing habits. At our new Aurora location with production, R&D, and the upcoming Customer Center, we can address customer-specific requirements for the U.S. market even better.” 

- Toronto, Canada-based CULT Food Science Corp. (CULT) has invested more than USD 3.5 million (EUR 3.2 million) in its portfolio of 19 cellular agriculture and lab-grown meat startups.

The company anticipates increased portfolio value alongside industry growth, potentially unlocking significant shareholder value and future non-dilutive capital, CULT said in a release. 

"We are thrilled with the exceptional progress of our portfolio companies and investments across the cellular agriculture ecosystem,” CULT Food Science CEO Mitchell Scott said in a release. “We have a wide-ranging, diversified portfolio that gives us exposure to alternative protein, dairy, and food production that doesn't require factory farming. With continual regulatory approvals and near-term commercialization opportunities, we believe we are uniquely positioned to benefit from our early bets on many of these promising companies. Cellular agriculture and lab-grown meat are beginning to hit critical adoption, and we are thrilled to have equity ownership in some of the most promising companies in food technology."

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