BlueNalu and Pulmuone strike deal to bring cell-based seafood to South Korea
The agreement accelerates BlueNalu’s introduction to the Asian marketplace
10 Jul 2020 --- BlueNalu, a California-based food technology company specializing in cell-based seafood, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Pulmuone, a South Korean headquartered company, to bring cell-based seafood to the Asian marketplace. Pulmuone also participated in BlueNalu’s Series A round of financing, which was announced earlier this year. The announcement comes during a time when the global COVID-19 pandemic has increased awareness of potential vulnerabilities in the food supply chain. Cell-based seafood addresses sustainable food security and the crucial issues of traceability, transparency and safety, says BlueNalu.
The agreement marks the beginning of the first collaboration for BlueNalu in South Korea. It represents Pulmuone’s interest in the commercialization of cell-based seafood products that offer consumers healthy, trusted and safe solutions that are sustainable for the planet.
The companies will collaborate in marketing, regulatory, operations and distribution to bring BlueNalu’s products to markets in South Korea in the years ahead.
“Seafood in is an enormous global market, and we’re very excited about the opportunity to create a product that has all the benefits of seafood, but one that actually offers some other benefits as well, including being humane for sea life and sustainable for our planet,” Lou Cooperhouse, President & CEO of BlueNalu tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“There is a global challenge with seafood supply, in that there is such a demand, but we have a very vulnerable and variable supply chain. It’s a worldwide phenomenon,” he continues. For BlueNalu, the opportunity in Asia is particularly important because the demand for seafood is far higher there than it is in other parts of the world. “In fact, in Asia, our data shows three to five times the per capita consumption occurs versus North America or Europe, so there is an increasing demand, and in the years to come, it will only get greater,” Cooperhouse stresses.
A paradigm shift?
According to Cooperhouse, the predictability of manufacturing seafood is quite a paradigm shift. “The other reality is that consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of the choices we as consumers make and the coronavirus pandemic has quite significantly affected the cell-cultured seafood space,” he declares.
“BlueNalu is hoping to secure a more secure supply chain minimizing the vulnerability that exists today,” adds Cooperhouse.
Consumers are looking for more transparency and confidence in the supply chain. There is increasing awareness around the challenges of the supply chain, the labor associated with catching fish, microplastics, and the potential for pollutants that might occur and be ingested through the fish that consumers eat, he notes. “That will increasingly become more of a problem as pollution occurs, but also as warming oceans with the effect of climate change, there is also the issue for the supply chain for variability and vulnerability.”
“The opportunity to manufacture our cell-based seafood offers a significant food security solution that gets us very excited. Also, many nations around the world see this as a solution to feed their growing populations.”
“We’re very excited to announce this relationship with Pulmuone to launch our products in South Korea, to bring all the benefits of seafood and more sustainable solutions for the consumers in the Asian markets,” he affirms.
The global demand for seafood is increasing, particularly in Asia, where the two companies believe cell-based seafood can supplement the current supply of wild-caught and farm-raised fish. BlueNalu’s cellular aquaculture technology will allow it to produce a wide array of seafood products from various species, without genetic modification. It will be free of microplastics, toxins, mercury and other environmental contaminants.
“This agreement with Pulmuone represents our shared values and respect for healthy families, a healthy ocean, and a healthy planet,” states Cooperhouse. “We plan to launch BlueNalu cell-based seafood products initially in the US, but we also recognize there is significant and increasing market demand for high-quality seafood in South Korea, while supply becomes increasingly vulnerable.”
When will industry see cell-based seafood on a commercial level?
According to Cooperhouse, cell-cultured seafood at a commercial level could be sooner than many people think.
“If you asked that question a year ago, we might have said a long time away. However, BlueNalu and some of our peers doing cell-based meats in the category are getting very close to the market. We feel very confident that it could be just one year away, in the latter half of 2021 we will be launching our products from our California facility in a small way,” he comments.
This launch in 2021 will get cell-based seafood into the commercial marketplace, which will be a huge milestone for BlueNalu. “However, large-scale production of the first factories I predict will be somewhere in 2024 or 2025,” Cooperhouse hints.
By Elizabeth Green
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