Shiok Meats, a company best known for its developments in cultured seafood, has acquired a 90 percent steak in Gaia Foods, according to Tech in Asia, which broke the news. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Through the deal, Singapore’s Shiok Meats will add “a variety of red meat products” to its roster, since the company will be able to draw on Gaia Foods expertise in developing cultured beef. Gaia, also based in Singapore is also developing cultured pork and mutton.
Both companies are targeting markets in Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Japan, Taiwan, India, and South Korea. Shiok Meats hopes to blend cultured beef and shrimp in order to create a product that can be used in a variety of dishes, from dumplings and noodles to spring rolls.
Shiok raised an undisclosed round of bridge funding last month that will go towards building out a production facility in Singapore. The company said at the time of the funding that it plans to launch commercially in that market by 2023 at the latest. Speaking to Tech in Asia today, company CEO Sandhya Sriram said Shiok Meats is ready to “power through to commercialization.”
Singapore is currently the only country in the world that has granted regulatory approval to sell cultured meat, and to just one company, Eat Just. Gaining its own approval — in Singapore and elsewhere — will be a major next step for Shiok on its path to commercialization.
Beyond regulatory approval, Shiok Meats and every other company developing cultivated meat has a host of challenges to contend with before consumers can buy their products en masse at restaurants and grocery stores. Those challenges span everything from making cell lines more available to finding cheaper, less ethically hazy growth mediums, and educating the average consumer about what cultured meat actually is and why we need to consider it as a protein source in the first place.
Gaia founders Vinayaka Srinivas and Hung Nguyen will lead the Shiok Meats technical team’s development process for cultured red meat products for the company moving forward. Meanwhile, Sriram told Tech in Asia that deals like this one will become “priorities” in the near-term future for the company.