Energy & Technology

Revolutionary Innovation: Enjoy Delicious Fish Fry from 3D Printers

Fish Fry from 3D Printers

An Israeli foodtech company, Steakholder Foods, has announced that it has successfully 3D printed the world’s first ready-to-cook fish fillet from animal cells cultivated and grown in a laboratory. This groundbreaking achievement is set to revolutionize the way fish is produced, without the need for fishing, and thereby avoid depleting fish populations.

Steakholder Foods partnered with Singapore-based Umami Meats to develop the fish fillets using a process that involves extracting cells from the grouper fish and growing them into muscle and fat, which is then added to a ‘bio-ink’ suitable for special 3D printers. The result is a narrow fillet that mimics the properties of sea-caught fish.

While lab-grown beef and chicken have gained popularity as a way to tackle concerns over animal welfare and sidestep the environmental toll of farming, seafood has remained a relatively untapped area. Umami Meats aims to bring its first products to market next year, starting in Singapore and then expanding to other countries like the United States and Japan, pending regulatory approval.

The current cost of cell cultivation alone is still too expensive to match the price of traditional seafood, so for now, the fish cells are diluted with plant-based ingredients in the bio-ink. However, Steakholder Foods’ CEO Arik Kaufman is optimistic that the cost of producing these products will decrease over time as their complexity and level of development increases.

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The 3D printing process used to create the fish fillets is simpler than that used for beef, but there are still some challenges that need to be overcome. Cow stem cells have been studied extensively, but fish stem cells are less well understood. According to Umami Meats CEO Mihir Pershad, the company had to figure out what the cells like to eat and how they like to grow, and there is not much literature to start from. However, they have successfully developed a process for grouper and eel and hope to add three other endangered species in the coming months.

The high price of lab-grown fish fillets remains a significant challenge for the industry. However, Umami Meats and Steakholder Foods hope that by producing high-quality fish that tastes great and is better for the environment, consumers will be willing to pay a premium price. Pershad added, “We want consumers to choose based on how it tastes and what it can do for the world and the planetary environment. And we want to take cost off the table as consideration.”

In conclusion, the production of lab-grown fish fillets is a significant step forward in food technology that has the potential to revolutionize the seafood industry. The ability to create fish without depleting natural fish populations is a significant advantage that can benefit both the environment and the food industry. While cost remains a significant hurdle, the benefits of lab-grown fish fillets are undeniable, and the industry is poised for growth and innovation in the coming years.

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