Cultivated Seafood

Uncovering the Future of Seafood, Minus the Sea

The seafood sector is a vast and continually expanding industry, currently valued at over USD 257 billion[1] and experiencing annual growth. To illustrate the magnitude of this expansion, global fish consumption has risen by approximately 30% since 1998.[2] However, experts anticipate a further 80% increase by the year 2050.[3]

Furthermore, analysts forecast that the Earth’s oceans will struggle to meet such escalating demands, as more than 90% of ‘fish stocks’ are currently either over-exploited.[4] [5]

Luckily, innovative food tech brands are working on sustainable alternatives that can meet rising demands for seafood products.

To learn more about cultivated seafood, in a New Food Hub interview, ProVeg International’s Gemma Tadman recently caught up with Justin Kolbeck, the co-founder of cultivated salmon company, Wildtype Foods.

justin kolbeck headshot
Image shows Justin Kolbeck. Source: Justin Kolbeck.

Taking cultivated seafood to the next level

A highlight of the interview explores the challenges of scaling up cultivated seafood and the opportunities related to food security. As Kolbeck explains, “The FAO estimates that we’re going to have a global seafood shortage by 2030 – close to 23 million tonnes.”

“Just think about how much weight that is and where’s that going to come from,” Kolbeck says.

So, what does Kolbeck suggest? How do we scale up cultivated seafood to provide the world with sustainable protein?

“The way that we get there,” Kolbeck adds, “is not by operating as little independent startups. That’s not going to move the needle. We need allies – like Cargill and Tyson and JBS and we need to show them that cultivated seafood is both possible and profitable.”

Wildtype_Salmon_Nigiri_On_White
© Wildtype

As well as strategic partnerships, to support scaling up, Kolbeck emphasises making profit and bringing down costs.

“Mission-driven companies rarely use the ‘P’ word, but you can’t run a sustainability business if you’re not a self-sustaining company. I think that’s obvious, right? And so that is really where our field needs to focus.”

Kolbeck continues: “Of course, improving our products, delighting customers, holding ourselves to incredibly high environmental standards – we need to do all of that. But first and foremost is scaling and bringing costs down to the point where this can be a mass-market product.”

Future seafood

Interested in the future of seafood? Uncover the full interview on the New Food Hub.

You can also get in touch with ProVeg experts for direct support on your alt-protein strategy at [email protected].


[1] Global seafood market value, (2022). Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/821023/global-seafood-market-value. Accessed 2023-07-11.

[2] FAO (2022) The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022. Towards Blue Transformation. Rome, FAO. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4060/cc0461en. Accessed 2023-08-18.

[3] Naylor, R. L., A. Kishore, U. R. Sumaila, et al. (2021): Blue food demand across geographic and temporal scales. Nature Communications 12(1), 5413. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-25516-4. Accessed 2023-08-10.

[4] FAO (2020): The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020. Sustainability in action. Rome. Available at: https://www.fao.org/3/ca9229en/ca9229en.pdf. Accessed 2023-08-24.

[5] Fish farming and aquaculture, (2020). ProVeg International. Available at: https://proveg.com/5-pros/animals/fish-fishing-and-fish-farming-in-aquacultures/. Accessed 2023-08-24. 




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