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40 Guests Taste Forsea’s Cultivated Eel at Official Tasting: “Feedback was Uplifting”

Following the successful creation of a cultivated eel prototype claimed as a world first, Israel’s Forsea Foods announces it has recently debuted the product at its first official tasting at restaurant “a” in Tel Aviv.

According to the announcement, more than 40 guests had the opportunity to taste Forsea’s cultivated eel fillets in various dishes. The menu’s centerpiece was Unagi kabayaki, a Japanese specialty of grilled fresh eel on a bed of aromatic rice (featured image).

Roee Nir, CEO and co-founder of Forsea, shares, “Since the start of the year, we have made significant advancements in improving our cell lines. We also have been working diligently to enhance our recipes. This event was a great opportunity for us to present our unprecedented achievements to partners and industry stakeholders.”

Tasting of cultivated eel at restaurant "a."
© Liran Maimon

Tasting future food

According to Forsea, the renowned Israeli chef Yuval Ben Neriah, owner of the restaurants “a” and Taizo, and the Executive Chef Katsumi Kusumoto, founder of the vegan restaurant Saido in Tokyo, were both instrumental in refining the final product to perfectly encapsulate the authentic taste and sensory qualities of the cultivated eel.

“The feedback from the diners was indeed uplifting”

Forsea points out that its cultivated product captures the flavor and the smooth and tender texture of traditional eels but with added advantages: it is more sustainable and free from mercury, chemicals, and microplastics.

Ben Neriah commented, “The feedback from the diners was indeed uplifting. Several remarked that they wouldn’t have guessed that the unagi was cell-cultivated had they not been informed. This project with Forsea has been particularly exciting as it marks my first venture into future food and the world of cell-cultured seafood and its resonating sustainability message.”

Takahashi Seiichiro, Japan’s Deputy Chief of Mission to Israel, commented, “While we Japanese have been eating eel for more than 5,000 years, we understand that cultivating eel is no simple task. Therefore, I believe that introducing the first cell-cultured eel is the accomplished result of great comprehensive corporate efforts.

Three dishes featuring cultivated eel.
© Liran Maimon

Bringing cultivated fish to consumers

Roee Nir, Moria Shimoni, Iftach Nachman, and Yaniv Elkouby founded Forsea in 2021 with support from the Israeli Innovation Authority and The Kitchen Hub and backing from PeakBridge VC, Zora Ventures, FoodHack, and M&H Ventures. In 2022, it raised $5.2 million for its innovative approach in a seed round led by Target Global.

Forsea leverages organoid technology to cultivate fish whole cuts in a bid to protect endangered species, starting with wild eel. As the startup explains, this technology allows fish cells to naturally develop their native fat and muscle structure in a controlled environment, mimicking their natural composition.

The approach simplifies production, enhances scalability, reduces the need for expensive growth factors, and eliminates the scaffolding stage to create whole cuts. As a result, the product becomes commercially viable and cost-competitive with traditional aquaculture eel. The startup has announced expansion plans, aiming to launch its first products by 2026.

Nir adds, “Forsea’s unique organoid technology has the potential to overcome many of the industry bottlenecks in bringing cultivated meat to the consumer plate.”

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