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Product, Service & Design Innovation
Steakholder Foods, Umami Meats Win $1M Grant to 3D Bio-Print Structured, Cultivated Fish Products

The collaboration, using Steakholder’s proprietary 3D bio-printing technology, is a significant step forward in both companies’ mission to cultivate and scale sustainable alternatives to conventionally farmed and fished foods.

This week, Steakholder Foods — an international, deep-tech food company at the forefront of the cultivated meat industry — has received its first grant to develop 3D-printed, structured eel and grouper products with Singaporean cultivated fish and seafood company Umami Meats. The initiative is being funded by a grant from the Singapore Israel Industrial R&D Foundation (SIIRD) — a cooperation between Enterprise Singapore and the Israel Innovation Authority.

A key player in the rapidly growing cellular ag industry, Steakholder Foods is developing slaughter-free solutions for producing a variety of beef, chicken, pork and seafood products — both as raw materials and whole cuts — as an alternative to industrialized farming and fishing.

The Steakholder-Umami partnership offers a unique opportunity for market entry in the only country in the world where cultivated meat has regulatory approval. The collaboration aims to develop a scalable process for producing structured, cultivated fish products. Steakholder Foods will use its newly developed technology for mimicking the flaky texture of cooked fish that was recently submitted for a provisional patent application.

"Industry collaborations are a critical aspect of our long-term business strategy.,” says Yair Ayalon, VP of Business Development at Steakholder Foods. “Our partnership with Umami Meats is especially meaningful following our recent patent application for fish texture, and because it is being supported by a joint Israeli/Singaporean government initiative of which we are very proud to be a part."

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Alongside US-based counterparts such as Aqua Cultured Foods, Umami Meats is working to enable a sustainable seafood future by producing delicious, nutritious, affordable cultivated seafood that is better for our health and our oceans. Umami Meats' “cultivated, not caught” seafood products — which for now include Japanese eel, red snapper and yellowfin tuna — offer equivalent nutrition to ocean-caught seafood and provide a delicious culinary experience free from heavy metals, antibiotics and microplastics.

The Steakholder-Umami project's first prototype, a structured hybrid grouper product, is expected to be completed by Q1 2023. The product will be printed using Steakholder’s proprietary 3D bio-printing technology and bio-inks that will be customized for Umami Meats' cells.

"We are thrilled to be combining our deep knowledge and experience in cultivated seafood with Steakholder Foods' innovative 3D bio-printing technology,” says Umami CEO and founder Mihir Pershad. “We believe this partnership will help us advance our vision of a new, more sustainable food system for preserving our marine ecosystems while delivering exceptional, high-quality seafood to meet growing consumer demand."

In 2020, Singapore became the first nation to approve a cultivated-meat food product; and it is developing its national plan for food security with full knowledge that cellular agriculture is significantly less reliant on natural resources, which the island nation lacks. But interest in cellular ag solutions continues to grow: In September, the White House announced fresh support for cell-cultured food, and a month later released its Global Food Security Research Strategy — highlighting its commitment to ending hunger and malnutrition; and building medium- to long-term sustainable, resilient food systems. Increased funding for cellular ag elsewhere — including the United Kingdom, Israel and the Netherlands — demonstrates the potential of cultivated food solutions to revolutionize our agricultural impacts worldwide.