Singaporean Company Debuts the World’s First Lab-Grown Lobster Meat
The days of selecting a lobster out of an algae-filled tank at a grocery store may be coming to a close: A Singaporean seafood startup has developed a cruelty-free approach to lobster meat by growing it in a lab. Shiok Meats, a company specializing in lab-grown seafood, isolates cells from proteins, growing and harvesting the stem cells in a process that takes six weeks. The company has already created a lab-grown shrimp and used the same technology to make its new lobster, in an effort to generate more sustainable seafood to help reduce the environmental impact created by overfishing.
Shiok Meats Develops Lab-Grown Lobster Meat
The company debuted their lab-grown lobster in an exclusive tasting event for APEC members, a coalition looking for more sustainable protein alternatives for Asia. Shiok featured their prototype in two classic dishes: A lobster gazpacho and lobster terrine.
Although not currently available on the market yet, the company hopes to debut their products for consumer purchase by 2022 for the Singapore market. The co-founder of the company, Dr. Sandhya Sriram, explains their decision to debut in Singapore first, saying, “Singapore is the most forward-thinking country in terms of cell-based foods. It will be a good test market for us to launch first, with different nationalities, cultures, and cuisines.” Currently, one of the company’s most significant hurdles is the cost of producing their lab-grown seafood, with their shrimp originally costing $7,000 per kilogram; however, they hope to have the price down to $50 per kilogram by the end of 2021.
Shiok Meats is one of a few companies racing to develop lab-grown seafood products. Stateside, BlueNalu, a San Diego-based food science company, cooked the first-ever piece of yellowtail made without killing a fish last year. Although currently, no cell-grown fish products are available on the consumer market, many start-ups like Good Catch, Sophie’s Kitchen, and Hooked have developed plant-based imitation seafood products to become the next Impossible or Beyond of the seafood market. Given the dire consequences associated with overfishing on our oceans, whatever product wins this race is a product worth getting excited about.