San Diego, CA-based food technology startup BlueNalu plans to release its first cell-based seafood product to the public in the second half of 2021. Founded in 2018, the company uses cellular aquaculture—a process using a few fish cells and growing them into slaughter-free fish—with a mission of creating seafood that is healthier, devoid of microplastics and other contaminants, and more eco-friendly. Last August, BlueNalu outlined its plans for a lab-grown seafood production facility, which, at scale, would produce 18 million pounds of seafood without the need to slaughter marine animals and has since signed a lease on a 38,000-square-foot facility, a six-fold increase over the current BlueNalu space, to make its vision a reality. The new space features a demonstration space allowing visitors to learn about BlueNalu’s process and the culinary applications of its cell-based seafood products.
The company also added corporate finance expert Amir Feder as its new Chief Financial Officer to help the company realize its goal of creating sustainable cell-based seafood products. “I am thrilled to join the BlueNalu team as CFO. It is a privilege to participate in this dynamic and market-disrupting company and fulfill BlueNalu’s vision to positively impact global food security, ocean conservation and human health through innovation,” Feder said. “With our new larger facility and the impressive developments in our technology, this initiates phase three of our five-phase commercialization strategy. It is an exciting time as we are leading a new category of food innovation and poised for a successful market launch.”
In December, the company cooked up the world’s first piece of yellowtail amberjack that was made without slaughtering a fish at a private tasting event it held for investors and global partners. The company demonstrated the culinary versatility of the fish—which it made through cellular aquaculture using a few fish cells and growing them into slaughter-free meat—by serving it in various ways (raw, acidified, and cooked). BlueNalu will initially focus on finfish such as mahi mahi, red snapper, tuna, and yellowtail before expanding to the development of other seafood alternatives using its technology platform.
In February 2020, the startup secured $20 million in Series A funding from investors from 11 nations to advance its mission of bringing cell-based fish to the public.