Michelin starred Chef Manrique joins Aqua Cultured Foods to launch exceptional alt seafood

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People

Michelin Starred Chef Manrique Joins Aqua Cultured Foods to Launch “Exceptional” Alt Seafood Whole Cuts

Aqua Cultured Foods, a pioneer of alt–seafood whole cuts set to launch commercially for the first time in January 2024, has announced the appointment of renowned chef Laurent Manrique as its inaugural culinary advisor. The Chicago-based food tech develops a new type of animal-free seafood using a technology that leverages a fungi strain and fermentation to transform unprocessed organic matter into realistic alternatives of tuna, whitefish, calamari, shrimp, and scallops.  In his new role, Chef Manrique will ensure that Aqua’s developments have the best possible flavor, texture, color, and overall appeal to be a one-to-one seafood replacement and win over consumers.  Chef Manrique is a French restaurateur and owner of Café de la Presse, a popular French restaurant in San Francisco. He earned two Michelin stars for three consecutive years (2006-2008), …

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Aqua Cultured Foods closed a $5.5 million seed Round to launch its seafood alternatives

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Investments & Finance

Aqua Cultured Foods Raises $5.5M to Bring Ultra-Realistic Alt Seafood to Market

As it begins consumer tastings of its products in Chicago today, Aqua Cultured Foods announces it has raised $5.5 million in seed funding to bring its ultra-realistic alt seafood to market through chef partners and food service distributors. This new capital brings Aqua’s total funding to $7.6 million. Using a proprietary mycoprotein fermentation process, Aqua develops calamari, shrimp, scallops, tuna, and whitefish alternatives. Its animal and GMO-free products contain natural fiber, protein, and micronutrients and will be available in pieces or minced for its future go-to-market Asian food partners. Mission-aligned partners “We appreciate having mission-aligned partners that offer strong strategic value for the next phase of our growth, which will involve building up the business and brand,” said Anne Palermo, CEO of Aqua Cultured. The round …

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Tuna/ Poke Bowl

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Food & Beverage

Aqua Cultured Foods to Begin First Public Tastings of Alt-Tuna, Shrimp and Scallops

US food tech startup Aqua Cultured Foods announces it will begin consumer tastings of its seafood alternatives in Chicago, ahead of its public launch through chef partners and foodservice distributors.   Beginning April 6, the startup will hold tastings of several alt-seafood products, including Aqua tuna rolls, shrimp dumplings and scallop crudo, at its headquarters in West Loop, Chicago. According to Aqua, it intends to solicit feedback from participants on the products’ quality compared to conventional seafood products, especially texture.  Unique fermentation Founded in 2020, Aqua is developing a range of seafood alternatives, including whitefish, shrimp, scallops and tuna filets, with mycoprotein fermentation technology. Using a unique strain of fungi, the company says it is able to transform plant-based ingredients into realistic seafood alternatives that offer …

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Opinion

Op Ed: Anne Palermo, Aqua Cultured Foods

In the third instalment of our new Opinion section featuring the views and insights of leaders and figures from across plant-based and cell-based; Anne Palermo of Aqua Cultured Foods shares her thoughts about the current narrative on the alleged slowing-down of the alt meat category. Hype of ‘Slowdown’ in Plant-Based Meat Sector Misses the Point: The Planet Depends on Our Success Research firms, financial analysts, business pundits, and the journalists who amplify them have all contributed to a great deal of doom and gloom about the alt-meat industry in recent months. Declining fortunes of publicly traded companies, the lackluster performance of product lines owned by megacorporations, and flattened post-pandemic sales triggered smug headlines that the plant-based meat market had fizzled out like the coconut oil …

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Food Service

Aqua Cultured Foods Partners With SV Group to Bring Alt Seafood to Swiss Hospitality Sector

US food tech startup Aqua Cultured Foods has announced a collaboration with Swiss hospitality and catering company SV Group. Together, the companies will work to make Aqua’s alt seafood products available via SV’s smart fridges, cafeterias, and event venue clients. The collaboration is part of SV’s commitment to the Planetary Health Diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts while limiting animal products. By emphasising this diet, SV hopes to benefit both the environment and human health. The company says it is challenging to source ethical and sustainable fish, describing highly realistic seafood alternatives as “potentially a breakthrough”. About Aqua Cultured Foods Aqua produces a range of alt seafood products — including calamari, shrimp, scallops, tuna, and whitefish — via microbial …

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Fermented shrimp dumpling

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Fermentation

Aqua Cultured Develops Minced Seafood Dumplings for Asian Go-To Market Partners

Alt seafood startup Aqua Cultured Foods announces it has created a minced dumpling filling for its future go-to-market Asian food partners. One of the company’s new options is a bulk shrimp alternative that can be seasoned, packaged and co-branded by retailers or distributors. Aqua, which produces mycoprotein-based seafood using fermentation, is primarily known for developing whole-muscle cut, sushi-quality filets. However, minced seafood dumplings present another lucrative and highly accessible market opportunity. As dietary staples in countries like China, South Korea, and Japan, frozen dumplings – known variously as mandu, gyoza or jiaozi – make up a $5.8Bn global market, and its value is expected to grow to $10Bn by the end of 2027.  Unlike whole cuts of high-grade fish, dumplings can utilize off-cuts, trim and …

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sustainable food plant-based shrimps

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Market & Trends

Alt Shrimp Making Waves as 72% of Consumers Do Not Want Their Seafood to Harm the Environment

Though research shows shrimp as the most popular seafood item in the US, consumer concerns regarding ocean pollution are changing ordering habits. Alt shrimp producers across the globe are meeting the demand for environmentally friendly seafood options, with 72% of consumers stating they do not want their seafood consumption to harm the environment, as reported by Restaurant Business Online. With alt shrimp looking like the next big segment in alt seafood, vegconomist takes a look at the biggest players in the emerging market.  Aqua Cultured Foods The female-led food tech startup from Chicago has recently launched its “world’s first” whole-muscle cut alt seafood on the market. Using its novel fermentation technology, Aqua Cultured Foods has developed alt shrimp as well as calamari.  Happy Ocean Foods …

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Company News

Aqua Cultured Foods Appoints Food Industry Celebs to Advisory Board

Chicago’s Aqua Cultured Foods, producer of alt seafood products through microbial fermentation, announces the appointment of three industry heavyweights to its Advisory Board: Chuck Muth, Ingeborg Gasser-Kriss, and Gonzalo Ramírez Martiarena. The female-led food tech startup is developing calamari, shrimp, scallops, and whole cut filets of tuna and whitefish. The company’s fermentation methods are free of any animal inputs, genetic altering or modification and can be marketed as non-GMO. Impressive achievements Since vegconomist first reported on Aqua Cultured — just last June — the company has gone on to achieve a list of accomplishments: closing the largest ever pre-seed round in alt-seafood last October; signing an agreement with Migros, Switzerland’s largest retailer; revealing its first commercial product, alt calamari fries; and announcing advancements in its …

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Aqua Cultured Seafood Appetizer

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Fermentation

Aqua Cultured Foods Doubles Production Output of Novel Fish and Seafood Alternatives

Food tech startup Aqua Cultured Foods announces new advancements in its fermentation technology that allow it to double the biomass output of whole-muscle seafood alternatives.  According to Aqua, these developments have dramatically improved the growth timeline for its seafood products, which include tuna, whitefish, calamari, popcorn shrimp and scallops. The startup says it has filed five patents relating to its unique method of protein production, and is preparing for its next financing round.  Novel fermentation  Based in Chicago, Aqua has previously created sushi-grade fish filets and calamari using microbial fermentation techniques that “grow” protein from a proprietary strain of fungi. By controlling environmental conditions such as culture medium, oxygen, temperature, and humidity, the company says it can create the same look, texture and moisture level found …

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Aqua Cultured Mycoprotein Calamari

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Products & Launches

Aqua Cultured Foods Reveals First Official Product: Calamari Fries

Alt-seafood startup Aqua Cultured Foods announces the development of calamari fries, the brand’s first commercial food product. Made from mycoprotein fermentation, the product offers a realistic calamari taste and texture, and will be available through the startup’s strategic partners later this year.  Aqua Cultured creates whole-muscle, sushi-quality seafood alternatives that match traditional seafood in flavor and nutritional value. Compared to squid-based calamari, Aqua Cultured’s product contains more protein, less sodium, and zero cholesterol or saturated fat. Unlike conventional seafood, the brand’s creations also provide a good source of fiber.  To perfect the calamari fries’ formula, the company enlisted the expertise of renowned chef and restaurateur Johnny Carino, who helped the team refine the product’s squid-like texture and preparation.  “As you bite in, you get an …

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Bob Schultz, Aqua Cultured Foods

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Interviews

Aqua Cultured Foods: “Using Biological Processes to Solve Large Systematic Issues is Going to Be Paramount”

Chicago’s Aqua Cultured Foods has developed the first whole-muscle cut sushi-quality seafood through microbial fermentation. The young company, founded only in 2020, closed an oversubscribed round in October in the largest ever pre-seed round in alt-seafood, and one of the largest ever in fermented proteins. Bob Schultz is the company’s new lead scientist. Schultz comes to Aqua Cultured Foods from SIMULATE, an early-stage biotechnology company, where he was lead food engineer and product lead for the NUGGS plant-based chicken nugget, the fastest-growing alternative chicken nugget on the planet. It was time to catch up with Bob and get his insights into the wonderful world of fermentation. Congratulations on joining Aqua Cultured! What made you want to be part of this team and bring this product …

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Sea bass sashimi plated Aqua Cultured

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Cultivated Seafood

Aqua Cultured Foods Partners With Switzerland’s Largest Retailer Migros For Ultra-Realistic Alternative Seafood

Following its oversubscribed pre-seed round last month – the largest ever pre-seed in alt-seafood and one of the largest ever in fermented proteins – Chicago startup Aqua Cultured Foods announces the signing of a Proof of Concept (PoC) with Migros, Switzerland’s largest retailer, to expedite development of its fungus-based alt seafood products created through microbial fermentation. “The Swiss market welcomes food tech, and we are ready to introduce the region to the future of alternative proteins.”  The female-led company officially launched this September, announcing it had developed the world’s first whole-muscle cut alt seafood on the market. Aqua Cultured has filed three patents and utilizes biomass fermentation and a proprietary strain of fungi to create sushi-quality filets of tuna and whitefish such as sea bass, …

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Aqua Cultured Foods Fish

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Food & Beverage

Chicago’s Aqua Cultured Foods Develops Fungi-Based Shrimp, Sushi Filet & Calamari

Female-led food tech startup Aqua Cultured Foods has now officially launched as it develops the “world’s first” whole-muscle cut alt seafood on the market. Using its novel fermentation technology, the Chicago company is set to launch alt shrimp and calamari, as well as sushi-quality filet. Having filed three patents, Aqua Cultured Foods is utilizing biomass fermentation and a proprietary strain of fungi to produce its seafood analogs, including tuna and whitefish. Microbial fermentation effectively ‘grows’ protein, instead of the food processing seen in many plant-based alternatives. This method allows it to retain its naturally occurring fiber and micronutrients, as well as being non-GMO. The pre-seed stage company is preparing to scale production and build its infrastructure to be able to release its first commercial products …

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Aqua Cultured Foods

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Fermentation

AquaCultured Foods is Making Waves as it Unveils “World’s First” Whole Muscle Seafood from Fermentation

As fermentation continues to emerge as the third pillar in the alt protein sphere, one Chicago-based startup has created what it claims to be the first whole muscle seafood alternative through microbial fermentation. AquaCultured Foods has developed novel tech which allows the creation of fungi-based alternative seafood options, from calamari and shrimp to whitefish and tuna. “As the first to create whole cut seafood alternatives via fermentation, the opportunity is almost limitless in the future food landscape” – Anne Palermo, CEO & Co-Founder, AquaCultured Foods Utilizing its own proprietary strain of fungi, AquaCultured Foods creates a bioavailable complete protein, which replicates the texture, appearance, and nutritional profile of fish. The fungi naturally grows in fibrous threads, thus replicating the texture of meat, and crucially without …

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