BlueNalu, a leading innovative food company developing a variety of seafood products directly from fish cells, announced today the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with two leading seafood providers in Asia — Thai Union, a global seafood producer with branded products sold worldwide and a dedication to sustainability and innovation, headquartered in Thailand, and Mitsubishi Corporation, a globally integrated business enterprise, headquartered in Japan, with a network of around 1,700 group companies across 90 countries. Both agreements are designed to assess market development strategies for BlueNalu’s cell-cultured seafood specifically in Asia where there is high demand for quality seafood and the potential for diminishing supply to feed its population during the coming years.
The collaborations represent a mutual interest in the commercialization of cell-cultured seafood in Asia and a commitment to sustainable seafood solutions in order to meet rising demand. Global seafood consumption is at an all-time high and continues to increase, particularly in Asia, outpacing the growth in population. Current seafood production from wild-caught and farm-raised sources cannot keep pace with demand according to the United Nations, which projects a supply chain gap representing 28 million metric tons of new seafood production will be needed by 2030, and cell-cultured seafood is seen as a third solution that can help meet that demand.
The independent agreements with Thai Union, who also participated in BlueNalu’s latest round of financing, and with Mitsubishi Corporation include collaborations to conduct market research and develop consumer insights in various regions, assess regulatory requirements, and explore business and product opportunities that could accelerate the introduction of cell-cultured seafood products throughout Asia. BlueNalu’s business strategy is to partner with leading multinational companies on market research, regulatory affairs, product design and development, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution, with an aim to efficiently and effectively bring BlueNalu’s branded cell-cultured seafood products to consumers worldwide in the coming years.
Previously, BlueNalu announced strategic investments from Pulmuone, a leading global food company rooted in the principles of nutrition and sustainability headquartered in South Korea and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, the largest subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation — an integrated global trading company with diversified investments in businesses involved in manufacturing and marketing of consumer products headquartered in Japan.
“We are excited by the collaborations with Mitsubishi Corporation and Thai Union, as these will help us to accelerate our pathway to commercialization and advance BlueNalu’s mission to provide the world with sustainable seafood options that could provide so many benefits for consumers, our ocean and our planet,” said Lou Cooperhouse, President & CEO of BlueNalu. “We recognized early on that our ability to make the biggest impact at BlueNalu will be in part due to collaborations with leading global organizations that can facilitate the quickest and most efficient pathway to market possible, at the least possible cost. We are keen to continue working with industry partners in Asia and other markets, and we are actively pursuing opportunities to create such relationships worldwide.”
Furthering the company’s commitment to the Asia market, and Japan in particular, BlueNalu recently joined the Cellular Agriculture Study Group of the Center for Rulemaking Strategies (CRS) at Tama University in Tokyo, a consortium of professionals from academia, industry and government regulatory agencies investigating pathways to bring cell-cultured foods to market in Japan. BlueNalu’s CEO, Lou Cooperhouse, has presented twice to the CRS study group, and the company will continue to engage with similar groups in Japan and other markets of interest.
BlueNalu’s technology platform is designed to allow it to produce a wide array of seafood products from a variety of seafood species in order to meet consumer needs in each region it goes to market. With wild fisheries and fish farms increasingly vulnerable to various anthropogenic and environmental pressures, BlueNalu’s cell-cultured seafood products could offer a regenerative, continuous, consistent and healthy seafood solution that is traceable, secure, and safe.
“As a chef and restaurateur, I see tremendous opportunity for BlueNalu to provide seafood that is 100% yield with consistent, year-round supply, and has the potential to advance the industry into one that can impact more sustainable change, especially in Asian cuisine where seafood plays such an integral role,” said Roy Yamaguchi, celebrity chef, BlueNalu investor and advisory board member, and founder of Roy Yamaguchi Group of Restaurants. “I’ll be excited to watch BlueNalu’s cell-cultured seafood enter Asian cuisine, providing valuable benefits to both chefs and consumers in countries where seafood plays a key role in culinary culture.”
BlueNalu has received investments from investors located in 14 nations to date originating from Asia (Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand); Europe (Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden, and U.K.); the Middle East (Israel, Saudi Arabia); South America (Brazil); Central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala) and North America (U.S.). Today’s announcement comes on the heels of $60 million of financing, announced in January 2021, and is indicative of BlueNalu’s global approach and commitment to partnerships in meeting growing demand for high quality seafood.