Dominique Crenn praises Upside Foods cell-cultivated chicken; Bluu Seafood raises EUR 16 million

Bluu Seafoods cultivated fish sticks

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

- Berlin, Germany-based Bluu Seafood cell-cultivated seafood company announced on 28 June it has closed its Series A funding round. 

The startup raised EUR 16 million (USD 17 million) to capitalize on driving regulatory approval of its first products and expanding research in pilot production advancements. 

"Our successful Series-A demonstrates the enormous potential that lies in cultivated fish as a platform technology for sustainable animal protein and underlines the strong scientific development that we at BLUU Seafood have delivered so far. Together with our strong, international investor base, we can start the next stage of development and bring our first products to market,” Bluu Seafood CEO and Co-Founder Sebastian Rakers said in  a release.

Bluu Seafood aims to enter the Singapore market in 2024, where cultivated chicken has been approved since 2020.

Since the company was founded in 2020, it has raised more than EUR 23 million (USD 25 million). It also is preparing to open its pilot production plant with construction to be completed this fall. The plant will leave lab scale and hold development capacities in large fermenters up to 500 liters. 

-Dominique Crenn partnered with Upside Foods and become the first chef to add its cell-cultivated chicken product to her restaurant menu. Crenn has been featured on Iron Chef, and Chef’s table, and owns three meat-free restaurants.

On 21 June, Upside Foods obtained label approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and received a grant of inspection to sell the analog chicken products. The chicken analog is labeled as a “cell-cultivated” product, Food and Wine reported.

Crenn tasted the chicken analog and said she was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was, especially compared to supermarket chicken. 

The taste and quality were also what I was focused on,” Crenn said. “To my surprise and excitement, the chicken was juicy, delicious, and better than any supermarket chicken breast I had eaten. I was sold.” 

Crenn said she is working on “a number of ideas” for showcasing the chicken analog in her restaurant, Bar Crenn, in San Francisco, California U.S.A.

- There has been a slump in both plant-based meat product sales and funding for plant-based and cell-cultivated start-ups.

The “fake meat” market has slowed down due to a variety of factors such as surging interest rates, investors pulling back funding, increasing production costs, and overall lower consumer demand, Bloomberg reported.

Competition is taking a toll on the sector, according to Oghma Partners Partner Mark Lynch.

“You probably need a bit of a clear out in some of these categories to allow winners to come through,” Lynch said. “Fewer players means resources will be more concentrated and survivors will control more of the available shelf space.”

Two start-ups in the plant-based sector, The Meatless Farm and Plant and Bean, have done layoffs at their U.K.-based facilities, Bloomberg reported.

Other companies have resorted to cost-cutting efforts such as limiting product selections and lessening marketing. 

Beyond Meat has seen a value drop of over 90 percent from its peak and experienced several layoffs this past year.

Photo courtesy of Bluu Seafood


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