WildType, the startup that produces laboratory-grown salmon, opens a pre-order list for selected chefs.
Although the company is up to five years away from commercial production, according to the founders, the company plans to partner with select chefs across the country who want to include their sushi-quality salmon product on their menus .
“We’re not starting right now. We’re posting the news that we have the next iteration of the product, ”said co-founder Justin Kolbeck, a former US diplomat who started the company to address food insecurity issues that he experienced firsthand while deployed in Afghanistan had seen.
“[It’s] Sushi or nigiri or sashimi that you would order in a sushi place, ”he said. So the product that WildType wants to send corresponds to the saku blocks made of fish meat that sushi chefs carve for the preparation of salmon. “Cooks will cut a fish into saku blocks, which are ten to fourteen ounces of fish,”
The process is more difficult than just culturing cells. According to Arbe Elfenbein, the other co-founder of Kolbeck and WildType, the company has developed its own technology to develop the scaffolding on which both muscle tissue and fats can grow to reproduce the taste and texture of wild-caught salmon.
“We develop the cell lines ourselves, we develop the scaffolding and we develop the nutrients that we need to grow, and we develop the cultivators in which the cells have to grow,” said Kolbeck.
In order for the sophisticated meat industry to develop its full potential, companies may need to differentiate their companies in order to focus on a single element of the supply chain in the future, according to the founders.
Companies like Future Fields are already raising money to focus on specific examples of the cultivated food supply chain, and WildType was considering going that route itself, according to Ivory.
“What we have created is special in its ability to provide cells with the right signals to organize and mature,” said Ivory. “This also applies to species other than the salmon we were working on. We are basically creating a framework that provides the right guidance in different places so that cells in different places take up fat or become more streaked.”
WildType has already developed sushi-grade salmon that are on par in nutrition and healthy omega-3 fats that make salmon a healthier option for consumers.
WildType is already working with restaurants in San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, and is looking for chefs in other parts of the country.
Kolbeck thinks the timing for the company’s cultivated product is right. Consumers are currently finding that the seafood supply chain is disrupted as buyers move from meat aisle to seafood in greater numbers.
From mislabeling of fish to the problems associated with factory fish farming, aquaculture and environmental degradation, to the risks of chemically contaminated fish, shoppers who want seafood are increasingly looking for more information about the origins of the food they eat .
“The news is that we are placing our bets on sushi as an industry in which to start and cause a sensation … pun intended,” said Kolbeck.