At a recent exclusive tasting event, Singapore-based Shiok Meats unveiled a prototype for cell-based lobster, according to FoodNavigator-Asia, who attended the event. The prototype was unveiled at the event as part of two dishes, a lobster gazpacho and lobster terrine.
Shiok said the lobster is cultivated with the same technology the company uses it make its cell-based shrimp. Shiok takes a sample of lobster cells, which are then grown in a bioreactor and harvested several weeks later. Right now, it takes between four and six weeks for Shiok to produce its cell-based shrimp; the company says the lobster takes a couple weeks longer than that. It is also more expensive to produce, though the company is looking to bring the cost down to $50/kg at some point in the future.
Neither the shrimp nor the lobster are available for sale to consumers right now. The company plans to have its Shiok Shrimp product commercially available by 2022. A manufacturing plant in Singapore is slated to be operational at that time, too. Shiok raised a $12.6 million Series A round in September of this year, part of which will go towards building out the production facility. FoodNavigator reported that once that plant is up and running, Shiok will be able to get regulatory approval to sell its products, which it will initially do in restaurants and other B2B settings.
No cell-based meat or seafood is currently available for commercial sale, though plenty of companies are moving towards that future. The list includes BlueNalu, a company that also makes cell-based seafoods and is currently expanding its production facility, which the company plans to open in the next five years. And plenty of investment is currently happening in the cell-based meat sector, with Mosa Meat, Integriculture, Meat-Tech 3D, and others all raising funding in the last six months.
However, being able to sell these products to mainstream consumers and at scale will be a much longer process, one that could take up to 15 years, by some accounts. Costs must first come down, and companies must get regulatory approval before they can even sell their products to restaurants.
For its part, Shiok will keep innovating on various cell-based seafoods in the meantime. In addition to shrimp and lobster, the company plans to introduce a cell-based carp prototype in a few months.