Are You Ready for Lab-grown Seafood?

Lab-grown Seafood Can Be an Alternative to Overfishing

With the recent success of companies establishing a market for vegetable-based and lab-grown meats, it was only a matter of time before lab-grown seafood substitutes would follow. Today, many companies worldwide are trying to create the texture and taste of the world’s favourite types of seafood and make them inexpensive enough to viably market this alternative seafood. 

There is little doubt that overfishing the world’s oceans is a cause for concern. For many years, the practice of governments toward the commercial fishing industry has been to limit the catches or ban fishing outright in some territorial waters due to overfishing. However, these solutions are increasingly ineffective as the world’s population increases and commercial fishing technology improves its catch rates.

Several companies around the world are developing marketable versions of favourite types of seafood to provide an alternative to fishing or at least try to lessen the damage of overfishing. CellMeat, a Korean company, is getting ready to distribute its cell-based shrimp in Singapore. Over in the U.S., a company called Finless is working on developing a lab-grown bluefin tuna alternative that appears promising. 

Taste and Texture

The major hurdle, as the developers readily admit, is developing a product that has the same, or similar enough, taste and texture to the real thing. Seafood is light and delicate in both taste and texture, particularly texture. This poses a problem. Meat can offer a range of textures from buttery-soft to dense and chewy, which nonetheless identifies the food as meat. 

Seafood has a much narrower window of acceptability. The delicacy of the texture of seafood is one of its main attractions. Achieving the signature taste and the melt-in-your-mouth texture of seafood on a lab-grown, large-scale basis would be one of the world’s biggest ecological triumphs. We wish all the companies developing these products the best of luck.