Tech breakthroughs will unlock ‘significant profitability’ for large-scale cell-cultured seafood

While many of the ‘first wave’ products in this nascent field are likely to be hybrid products combining cell-cultured chicken or beef and textured plant-based proteins to provide texture and lower costs, BlueNalu intends to launch with whole muscle Bluefin Tuna Toro, a high-value product that typically commands a premium price.

The firm – which has a 38,000sq ft pilot facility and innovation center – is currently in a back and forth with the FDA as it goes through a pre-market consultation process.

This could take up to 18 months, at which point it plans to test market products in the foodservice arena and secure commitments that will help secure financing for a 140,000sq ft facility featuring multiple 100,000-liter bioreactors that can produce up to six million pounds of premium seafood products annually, the firm told FoodNavigator-USA.

“We anticipate that we will select the site location for this facility in 2024, break ground in 2025 and that the facility will be operational in 2027. Once this facility is complete and optimized, we plan to replicate this around the globe so we have regional production centers.”

Tech breakthroughs

The firm – which is working with partner Nutreco on bringing down the cost of animal-free growth media – says two key factors have been key to its latest cost projections: achieving single cell suspension (which mean it can grow large numbers of muscle cells without microcarriers in suspension); and ‘lipid-loading’ technology (prompting muscle cells to store a customized level of fat so BlueNalu doesn’t have to grow muscle and fat cells separately), CTO Dr Lauran Madden told us.

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