It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has allowed the alternative food industry to thrive, especially in the State of Israel. The country has become more interested in seafood and meat solutions as people now believe that these are safer and more sustainable options to eat. However, despite lab-grown food options available and significant backing from various investors in the last couple of years, it is not cost-effective to create a cultured product with technologies, processes, and ingredients. For this reason, cultured food companies have been unable to successfully commercialize such products, which is why they cannot be found in stores.
Meanwhile, MermadeSeafoods, a startup based in the city of Jerusalem, is focusing on growing scallops in its labs as one of its first products. Consequently, the company has revealed a way to cut down on hefty price tags of food that is grown in lab by coming up with an innovative process to provide it for the masses.The CEO of Mermade, Daniel Einhorn, went on to add that his company specifically focuses on cultured seafood. He further said that it is hoping to one day completely replace the entire industry of seafood across the globe.
Food is grown in a lab with the help of a considerable collection of cells, which are cultivated through the process of fermentation. This procedure takes place inside a bioreactor or a number of other manufactured systems and devices to provide support to a biologically active environment. Like every other living organism, these cells need to be fed and produce waste. As per the CEO, a majority of the companies out there allow such cells to consume fresh food and then get rid of the waste. Consequently, the process is repeated, and it becomes unsustainable. It is also quite expensive as large volumes of rotten waste need to be handled.
MermadeSeafoods, on the other hand, does not get rid of the waste. Rather, the startup has come up with a unique process for recycling that allows it to reuse the waste repeatedly. Microalgae has been used to make the biological recycling system. According to Einhorn, the waste, which consists of carbon dioxide and ammonia is taken and given to algae. The algae are known for thriving on these materials as these are its food. Thus, with the help of biological magic and natural selection, the chosen algae produce the ingredients required. In short, the CEO explained that the microalgae are grown by the company on the waste that is produced with the help of animal cell culture.
As a result, the algae are then upcycled to develop important growth medium ingredients. Founded less than a year ago, the tech startup from Jerusalem is currently undergoing its pre-seed stage. Up until now, it has managed to raise no less than $1.5 million to help improve its transformative technology. This aims to address any challenges that may arise in the cell-based industry, which include waste accumulation and high costs of production.