Innovative Startup Cultivates and 3D Prints Fish Filets

Lab-grown fish is on the way to being on your dinner table.

Jan 21, 2024
Innovative Startup Cultivates and 3D Prints Fish Filets | Lab-grown fish is on the way to being on your dinner table.

A new product is coming soon to  restaurant and family tables around the world. It looks like fish, tastes like fish but it was actually made in a 3D printer.

A partnership between Israeli startup, Steakholder Foods, together with the Singaporean startup, Umami Meats, have developed the world’s first lab-grown fish filet and it has the potential to change the way people consume protein.

“We are still eating and consuming meat the way that we’ve consumed thousands of years ago,” Arik Kaufman, CEO of Steakholder Foods told CNN; “so we’ve decided to take a new approach to try and reinvent the way that meat is produced.”

Not just steak
You might think that in the hierarchy of  cultivated protein, steak would come after fish. However Steakdolder, a startup that specializes in 3D-printed meat and fish, started with cultivated meat two years ago.Now It's ready to take on the pescatarian market as well.

The cultivated protein starts with stem cells taken from a specific type of animal. The startup uses a cow for beef and a grouper for fish. Those cells are then cultivated in a bioreactor where they differentiate into muscle or fat cells. Then those differentiated cells are turned into a bio-ink which is fed into a 3-D printer, and printed into a piece of meat (or fish). 

The fish tastes like the real deal grouper because it is essentially grouper. But because it is made in a lab, it is something that vegetarians and vegans can enjoy.

You’re creating what is essentially identical to animal meat, but not growing all the other parts of the animal,” said Liz Specht, Vice President of Science and Technology at the Good Food Institute (GFI). In other words, people could eat meat or fish without harming animals.

Environmental implications
In terms of the environmental implications for fish specifically, the UN estimates that almost 90 percent of the global fish population are either overfished or diminishing. Being able to eat fish without fishing could help repopulate those dwindling numbers and reinvigorate fragile marine ecosystems

Although Steakholder Foods is not ready to release their grouper filet to the general market, reported New Atlas, special guests recently had the opportunity to taste the filets as used in both Singaporean and Israeli cuisines. The results were very promising. 

“In this first tasting, we showcased a cultivated product that flakes, tastes, and melts in your mouth exactly like fish should,” Mihir Pershad, Umami Meats Cofounder and CEO, told New Atlas.

So the next time you sit down for a nice piece of fish, you may very well be eating a piece of protein that was grown in a lab instead of the rivers and seas. This is very good news for the planet.

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Tiki is a freelance writer, editor, and translator with a passion for writing stories. She believes in taking small actions to positively impact the world. She spends her free time reading, baking, creating art, and walking her rescue dog.