Business like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat that are making vegetable-based meat replacements have caught the imagination and wallets of customers, but so far, there’s been no genuine corollary for the seafood industry.
While new businesses like Wild Type, Finless Foods and Shiok Meats are all establishing cell-based alternatives to utilizing live tuna, salmon and shrimp, and Excellent Catch and Ocean Hugger are proposing their own tuna replacements, Kuleana hopes to differentiate itself by replicating sushi-grade raw tuna.
And that’s just the beginning, according to Kuleana co-founder and primary executive, Jacek Prus. Eventually, the company intends to be making vegetarian options to tuna, salmon and more fish and shellfish.
” No one has really done raw tuna effectively yet,” states Prus. “ We’re going to do raw tuna and after that most likely salmon.”
Prus became interested in the food market after taking an animal ethics class at the University of Texas at Austin. After 5 years in the city, Prus moved to Europe and assisted set up the ProVeg International incubator.
It was there that Prus contacted Ron Shigeta, a longtime scientist, technologist and entrepreneur in the food science area who formerly worked as the chief science officer at IndieBio. Shigeta put Prus in touch with the Barcelona-based food science researcher Sonia Hurtado and the 3 launched Kuleana (Shigeta has actually given that left the business).
The food accelerator experience gave Prus, a long-lasting meat eater before college, a grounding in alternative proteins and resulted in the thinking around how to establish a more flavorful fish alternative.
Kuleana’s tuna is used iron and algae oil and a mix of various proteins, and forming them in an exclusive way, Prus stated. Using a preliminary EUR50,000 in seed financing from Good Seed Ventures, Kuleana is developing a scaffolding that will make it possible for the business to recreate the taste and texture of raw fish, without utilizing 3D printing strategies (which Prus said might make the item appearance and taste “cooked”).
To get to market, Kuleana is connecting to a number of sushi chefs at restaurants around the nation, due to the fact that the very first target is, in reality, dining establishments.
” What we discovered is that 60%[of seafood] is eaten out of the home, and with raw seafood that’s considerably greater,” said Prus. “We’re doing it heavier on the food service path.”
Within the year, Kuleana may be appearing in some shops as a tuna alternative in sushi rolls and poke bowls at a rate that Prus said is currently competitive with higher-grade tuna loin.
Kuleana currently held two successful taste tests in Barcelona and San Francisco and the company boasted in a recent note to financiers that there were letters of intent for orders of over 50,000 pounds of the company’s vegetarian tuna substitute.
” The taste of tuna isn’t the hardest part … it’s the texture,” says Prus. “[Competitors] are formatting their process through extrusion and it will not work. I’m positive that what we’re finishing with the biotech may be among the best techniques out there.”