10/12/2021 – Sustainability / Aqua Cultured Foods / Migros / Seafood / Fermentation / Protein
Aqua Cultured Foods signs PoC with Migros to advance development of seafood alternatives
Food tech startup Aqua Cultured Foods has signed a Proof of Concept (PoC) with Migros, Switzerland’s largest retailer, to advance the development of its seafood alternatives with a realistic taste and texture.
The collaboration includes assessing Swiss consumer acceptance of Aqua’s fermentation-derived seafood alternatives, and exploring new business opportunities in Switzerland.
Aqua Cultured Foods uses microbial fermentation to ‘grow’ protein, and is developing the world’s first whole-muscle cut, sushi-quality fillets of tuna and whitefish, as well as shrimp and calamari alternatives, based on its novel fermentation technology.
Strong appetite for fish in the EU
Europeans in EU member states consume 27kg (nearly 60lb) of seafood per person, with imports far exceeding domestic supply. Nearly one-quarter of the world’s catch is imported to Europe, despite the continent representing less than 10 per cent of the world’s population.
“The worldwide demand for seafood is exceeding the ocean’s capacity, and we appreciate that Migros wants to be part of the solution,” said Brittany Chibe, Chief Growth Officer at Aqua Cultured Foods. “Interest in our alternative seafood is coming from Europe, North America and Asia, because the need for more sustainable proteins is increasing as the climate crisis worsens and population grows.”
Revolutionising the seafood category
“Aqua Cultured Foods has presented some exciting technology and products that we at Migros believe can revolutionise the seafood category throughout the food industry,” said a spokesperson for Migros. “The Swiss market welcomes food tech, and we are ready to introduce the region to the future of alternative proteins.”
Aqua was accepted into Kickstart 2021, a Swiss startup incubator for high-growth tech innovation. Over the past six years, Kickstart has supported more than 200 startups and facilitated more than 200 deals in more than 40 countries, raising more than US$1.6 billion in investments and working with European partners including Migros and Coop.
“Kickstart 2021 participants are tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time, and a collaboration like this between Migros and Aqua Cultured Foods is proof that meaningful commercial partnerships can create social benefit,” said Katka Letzing, Co-Founder and CEO, Kickstart Innovation. “Large companies are increasingly interested in cooperating with high-growth start-ups and developing together in Switzerland.”
Aqua’s fermentation methods do not use any animal inputs, genetic altering or modification, and can be marketed as non-GMO. Per serving, products will contain 18-20 grams of protein, 10-12 grams of fibre, and Omega-3, alongside zero sodium, saturated fat or cholesterol. These nutritional values can be compared with cod, which contains 18g of protein and 0.7g of fat, yet nearly 43mg cholesterol, 54mg of sodium, and no fibre.
Aqua is currently scaling production and building infrastructure to release commercial products with strategic partners in 2022.
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