South Korean startup CellMEAT has developed a prototype for cell-based caviar. The company's cultivated prototype is based on Osetra caviar, one of the most popular varieties of the luxury food harvested from sturgeons. It has a "less fishy" flavor and a better texture than traditional caviar, according to the company.
The process of harvesting caviar from sturgeons is controversial, as it involves cruel practices, such as removing eggs from live sturgeons. Sturgeons have a slow reproductive cycle, and overfishing has led to a decline in their populations, with many species becoming critically endangered.
CellMEAT's cell-based caviar offers a sustainable and ethical alternative to traditional caviar without compromising on taste or texture. CellMEAT's technology enables mass production of cell-based caviar, which can help reduce the impact of traditional caviar production on the environment. CellMEAT's technology is a significant step towards preserving marine life while still allowing people to enjoy the luxury food.
Additionally, CellMEAT says it’s working on other seafood prototypes following its $8.1 million Series A funding round in 2022. Last year, the company announced that its cell-based Dokdo Shrimp was market-ready pending regulatory approval.