Sushi-grade cell cultured salmon pioneer Wildtype has announced the opening of its new pilot plant in San Francisco. Claiming to be the first operational pilot plant in the world, the facility will be able to produce upwards of 200,000 pounds of cell-cultured seafood per year when at maximum capacity.
“Our pilot plant will showcase the promise and wonder of growing fish fillets using cell cultivation”
Designed by acclaimed architect Shuo Zhai, the first-of-its-kind facility will host an educational center to help people learn about the emerging industry of cellular agriculture, as well as a sushi bar for cell-cultured seafood tastings. Wildtype claims to be the first company in the cell-cultured seafood sphere to be growing salmon cells at a dedicated and scalable production facility, rather than on a more limited laboratory scale.
The San Francisco startup was co-founded by Justin Kolbeck and Aryé Elfenbein, with the mission to address global food insecurity and improve ocean health by producing clean, sustainable seafood. According to Wildtype, its salmon is already nutritionally equivalent to the conventional variety and rich in healthy omega-3 fats. To produce the salmon, the startup begins by making a scaffold structure, with fat and muscle cultivated around it, producing a texture very similar to conventional salmon.
The Alt Seafood Future
Validated by the success of hit Netflix documentary Seaspiracy, alt seafood has become the next frontier in vegan business, with cell-cultured pioneers like Wildtype being one of those at the forefront. $366 million was raised by cell-cultured meat companies in 2020 alone, however regulatory framework in many countries could delay wide-scale release in the near future, according to a recent GFI report.
“Global demand for seafood is outpacing supply, so the status quo needs to change. Our pilot plant will showcase the promise and wonder of growing fish fillets using cell cultivation. In addition to being designed to shorten innovation cycles and facilitate the scaling of food production, the facility will be a place where the public can learn about this fascinating new technology,” stated Wildtype co-founder, Aryé Elfenbein.