San Francisco-based startup Wild Type recently debuted its first pound of lab-grown salmon—made using fish cells grown into meat in a lab setting—for a private taste-test event in Portland, OR. The test dinner included an assortment of cell-based salmon dishes such as ceviche verde, salmon tartare, Hawaiian poke, and spicy salmon sushi rolls. This was the first large-scale taste test of its new product since Wild Type began research and development in 2018 after raising $3.5 million in a seed investment round. Currently, Wild Type’s salmon can only be served raw because it loses textural components if heated above 212 Fahrenheit, however, the company hopes to develop a new version of the product that can be cooked at that temperature and above in the coming months. And, as with most cellular agriculture companies, Wild Type can only produce relatively small pieces of lab-grown meat due to scaffolding challenges. Cost is also an issue, but the company hopes to eventually sell the salmon at a competitive price to ocean-caught salmon. Wild Type plans to initially release ground salmon and lox before developing full-size filets. “We want to start with something that is familiar; we don’t want people to find it strange,” Wild Type co-founder Justin Kolbeck told media outlet Bloomberg. “The dream vision is the cleanest, purest, freshest salmon, without contaminants or antibiotics, for a price lower than farmed Atlantic salmon.” While cell-based aquaculture continues to innovate its products, other companies have debuted plant-based seafood products with the aim to replace the destructive fishing industry. Vegan brand Good Catch Foods recently debuted its vegan tuna at Whole Foods Markets nationwide, and Ocean Hugger Foods unveiled its newest product, eggplant-based eel, last month at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.
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