To create a more sustainable seafood option, three Ph.D. students decided to apply their experience in 3D bioprinting. The result is the Austrian startup Legendary Vish, which uses plant-based ingredients and 3D bioprinting to re-create a realistic salmon fillet.
I spoke to Robin Simsa, the CEO of Legendary Vish this week. He said a benefit to bioprinting salmon is that it offers an alternative to aquaculture and wild salmon. Fish that are raised in aquaculture farms are often fed antibiotics and are at risk for contaminating wild fish with parasites/pathogens, and wild salmon can contain microplastics and heavy metals. Additionally, salmon is susceptible to overfishing since it is a popular seafood and often touted as a “health food.” Legendary Vish’s 3D printed plant-based salmon fillet is free of these toxins and contaminants, and void of potential environmental concerns.
The plant-based salmon fillet looks shockingly real, with a convincing red-orange color and white stripes of fat. When asked if the salmon fillet truly tasted like salmon, he said the flavor and aroma are very accurate. However, they are working on developing an improved “mouth feel” for the product, in hopes of making it a firmer texture. The salmon will contain nutrients and health benefits similar to real salmon, like protein and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Legendary Vish’s salmon is a unique seafood alternative because it is crafted from mushroom protein and algae. Other companies re-creating fish like Shiok, BlueNalu, and Wild Type use cell-based technology to create seafood alternatives. In the world of 3D printing, Redefine Meat and Novameat create plant-based beef and pork alternatives.
Legendary Vish has not yet received outside capital, but is currently speaking with investors. The company’s goal is to release their bioprinted salmon to the European market by 2022, first focusing on Scandinavian countries, and then turning to larger cities within Europe. Next year, they may begin testing the salmon in certain markets on a small scale.