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April 12, 2021updated 21 May 2021 4:02pm

US cell-seafood start-up Cultured Decadence wins pre-seed funding

Cultured Decadence has raised US$1.6m from a pre-seed round the US start-up plans to put to work in developing cell-cultured lobster as it moves toward a commercial launch.

By Simon Harvey

John Pattison, the firm’s CEO who has previously worked for US cell-based meat company New Age Meats, founded the business with chief scientific officer Ian Johnson having come up with the idea to create sustainable seafood products with a “dramatically lower” environmental footprint in 2019.

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Using its own technology, Cultured Decadence is developing seafood ‘meat’ using the cells of lobster in the first instance, with potential expansion into other shellfish such as crab, shrimp and scallops.

A spokesperson for the Madison, Wisconsin-based company, told just-food it does not yet have a manufacturing facility as the business is still at the R&D stage, adding: “We are currently building out our technology at bench scale and would look to pilot/commercialise in the next few years”.

Once launched, Cultured Decadence will focus on food manufacturers and foodservice operations in North America, and will then look to expand into China, the spokesperson confirmed. It claims to be the first to create “cell-cultured lobster meat in North America”.

CEO Pattison said in a statement: “The way we engage with animals as a food source needs to change if we are to thrive as a planet. Our team is at the forefront of that change as we build the future of seafood a thousand miles from the nearest ocean. We are pleased to partner with an experienced group of investors that share our vision and are eager to accelerate our technology to bring transformative seafood products to market.”

Contributors to the pre-seed round included Chicago-based venture-capital fund Bluestein Ventures and peer Joyance Partners in San Francisco, along with Chinese investment firm Dao Foods.

Also taking part were Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund in Washington, Gener8tor, a start-up accelerator in Milwaukee, venture-capital group the GlassWall Syndicate and Bascom Ventures in Wisconsin. Cultured Decadence also received “non-dilutive funding” from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

In January, BlueNalu, a Californian company developing cell-cultured seafood, said it had raised $60m in debt financing, based on convertible notes, with Thailand-based seafood giant Thai Union Group among its backers.

Speaking to just-food, BlueNalu CEO and co-founder Lou Cooperhouse said the company expected to get regulatory clearance in the US this year. “We’re both learning from each other. The FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] is learning about how this gets done too, as are we. It’s a highly iterative approach … that we knew from the very beginning would probably take 12, 18 months and we’re in the last third of that process.”

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What’s the forecast for the food and grocery industry?

The food and grocery sector thrived during the pandemic, largely due to the shutdown of the food service industry and the sector’s subsequent necessity, panic-induced bulk purchasing, and spending more time at home. The market has grown as a result of inflation. Consumer unwillingness to go out and socialize, and the reopening of several hospitality facilities, helped maintain the demand for groceries, particularly online, in 2021. As consumer behavior changes, we consume more food and drink at home, and inflation increases basket sizes. GlobalData predicts that the sector will continue to hold a higher share than had been predicted prior to the pandemic. This is true despite the fact that the food and grocery sector's share of overall retail will decline from its peak in 2020. This report will discuss market forecasts and key themes in the global food & grocery industry in 2022 and beyond. It covers:
  • Market drivers and inhibitors
  • Five-year forecasts and the impact of COVID-19
  • The performance of the online channel versus offline
  • Major trends in the market including rapid delivery, ambient retailing, supply chain disruption, and inflation
Assess developments within this sector to help your business thrive in 2022 and beyond.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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