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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Fish grown in a dish could be on supermarket shelves in five years

A fish supper once depended on the boat coming in – but seafood grown in a dish could be on supermarket shelves within five years after a Birds Eye deal.

The west London-based frozen food giant Nomad Foods, which owns the Birds Eye brand, is to work with a Californian company to bring the factory-grown fish to shops.

San Diego-based BlueNalu creates seafood from fish cells, in a method involving adding them to a nutrient solution and growing them under controlled conditions, before they are shaped into seafood portions.

Europeans consume large amounts of seafood and EU citizens currently eat more than three times as much as the continent produces from its own fishing industry.

There are concerns about the sustainability of fish stocks, with scientists warning that overfishing and pollution threaten the health of the oceans.

‘Breakthrough technology in cell-cultured seafood’

Stéfan Descheemaeker, chief executive of Nomad Foods, said: “We are at the forefront of a generational shift towards healthier, more sustainable eating and are delighted to announce our collaboration with BlueNalu.

“Their breakthrough technology in cell-cultured seafood perfectly aligns with our purpose and will enable us to continue to introduce innovative and great tasting seafood products that are good for people, good for the planet and accessible to all.”

The two companies said they had not yet decided what type of fish would first appear on shelves but would be working together to develop a product.

BlueNalu has previously developed sashimi based on bluefin tuna muscle and fat cells and fillets made from mahi-mahi muscle cells.

It has previously said its first large-scale production facility was expected to open in three to five years.

The company is among a group of new high-tech “fake meat” producers trying to cater to consumers increasingly conscious of the environmental and ethical impact of their diets.

Other companies are working on products including imitation meat made from plant-based ingredients or grown in labs.

Last year Singapore-based company Eat Just became the first to sell lab-grown meat to the public after the Singapore Food Agency approved its chicken bites.

The fishing industry has recently come under scrutiny after the release of the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy, which criticised consumer labels promising sustainability and suggested that the solution is veganism, though some of its claims were later challenged.

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