Umami Meats, which was named a semi-finalist in the XPRIZE “Feed the Next Billion” competition, plans to leverage proprietary technology the startup has developed that is capable of lowering the costs of producing cellular growth serum. Cell growth serum is a critically important ingredient for cultivating cells into meat, but the product’s prohibitively high cost has consistently presented a major challenge to the cultivated meat industry.
According to CULT, the production of growth serum for cultivated seafood accounts for 80% of total production costs.
Lowering the price of cultivated seafood
By focusing on reducing the price of serum, CULT says, Umami aims to position itself as a technology leader that will help make cultivated seafood much less expensive to produce, and therefore easier for companies to bring to markets.
According to CULT, Umami will first focus on improving the process for cultivating Japanese eel, yellowfin tuna, and red snapper. The startup also intends to work with halibut, grouper, and mahi-mahi as future projects.
In November, Shiok Meats, another Singapore cultivated seafood startup, opened a new “mini-plant” dedicated to research and development of that company’s cultured crustacean products. Together, Umami and Shiok are part of a fast-growing group of startups, including Blue Nalu, Finless Foods, Wildtype, and Avant that seek to disrupt the $1.5 trillion seafood economy with animal-free alternatives.
A “misunderstood” opportunity
“We are excited to have CULT Food Science backing our vision for a sustainable seafood future, enabled by our cultivated fish production technology. With their strong industry knowledge and network of advisors, we believe this investment will help accelerate our development timeline and path to scale,” said Mihir Pershad, Chief Executive Officer of Umami.
“We are pleased to invest in Umami Meats as we believe cultivated seafood represents a largely misunderstood opportunity. We believe that their novel technology and intellectual property will be enormously valuable as cell-based seafood grows and we look forward to helping accelerate their scientific development,” said Francis Rowe, Chief Financial Officer of CULT.