Cultivated Seafood

Forsea Develops World’s First Cultivated Eel Fillet, Plans Commercial Launch in 2025

Forsea Foods, a cultivated seafood startup from Israel, has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first cultivated eel prototype. According to the startup, the cultivated eel delivers the delicate texture and flavorful taste of the Japanese unagi eel (Anguilla japonica), renowned for its tenderness and rich flavor.

To demonstrate the potential of its new development, Forsea worked with chef Katsumi Kusumoto of Saido, a popular vegan restaurant in Tokyo, to craft two traditional Japanese dishes — unagi kabayaki (marinated grilled eel over rice) and unagi nigiri. Since tastings of cultivated meat are not yet legally allowed in Japan, the prototype has not been served or tasted at Saido restaurant as yet, verifies the company. The Forsea and Saido teams met a few times in Japan and the prototype was developed and showcased in Israel.

“Forsea is pioneering the fusion of traditional, high-quality Asian cuisine with groundbreaking technology to create the world’s first cultured unagi—one that will provide the consumer with a genuine seafood experience without putting further strain on aquatic life,” says Roee Nir, CEO and co-founder of Forsea. 

Force Foods from Israel unveils the world's first cultivated eel prototype.
© Anatoly Michaello

A commercial product by 2025

Following this proof of concept, the company states that it is ready to move forward by scaling its production and has announced plans to launch a commercial product by 2025. “This milestone marks a major leap in our journey to deliver delicious cultured seafood products,” shared Nir.

Forsea Foods has also announced the appointment of Mayu Sugisaki as business development manager for Japan to strengthen its presence in the Asian food market. Meanwhile, the Israeli biotech will look to forge strategic partners also in Europe and the USA.

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 Target Global, PeakBridge VC, Zora Ventures, FoodHack, and M&H Ventures. 

In October 2022, the Israeli biotech raised $5.2 million for its innovative approach in a seed round led by Target Global. Last year, the startup, which won the Startup Pitch Hour Prize at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit, also said it had plans to expand into a new pilot-scale facility with large-scale production to launch its first products.

Forsea Foods's team
Forsea Foods’ team © Tal Shahar

Sustainable indulgence

Forsea’s proprietary platform utilizes organoid technology to create 3D microtissues that mimic the natural cell formation process. Nachman, the technology developer, explains that the process involves creating an ideal environment for fish cells to spontaneously form their natural composition of native fat and muscle like they would in a living fish. This approach simplifies the production process and enhances scalability while significantly reducing costly growth factors.

While Forsea can cultivate any seafood, the startup aims to provide a sustainable alternative to eel, offering a nutritious product free from antibiotics, hormones, and ocean pollutants. 

Eel is a sought-after fish in traditional Japanese cuisine and is considered a delicacy worldwide. However, overfishing has led the species to an endangered status, causing supply bottlenecks, illegal trade, and high prices. 

“Unagi is an enduring favorite in Japan. Its timeless appeal, however, is impacted by a growing awareness among the Japanese population of the need to take a more sustainable approach. It’s been a thrilling journey to join forces with emerging innovators, and working together to deliver the traditional unagi indulgence with a clear eco-conscience,” comments Kusumoto.




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