Tasting planet-friendly salmon
Nathalie Rolland 29 November 2019
Gourmet and sustainable
Nathalie Rolland, cellular agriculture specialist from ProVeg’s Cellular Agriculture Project, was in San Francisco for this year’s Cultured Meat Symposium, which ‘explores the future of cell-based meat technology’. While there, she was invited by Wild Type cofounders Justin Kolbeck and Aryé Elfenbein for a special tasting of their prototype cultivated salmon.
“We founded Wild Type to create the cleanest and most sustainable seafood on the planet,” says Elfenbein. Cultured from fish cells, this new food type is a great alternative to conventional animal products.
Wild Type’s chefs treated Nathalie to some gourmet treats, ranging from salmon sushi to salmon bagels. “The salmon tastes good and smells just like fish! I’m looking forward to tasting other cellular agriculture products,” said Nathalie. “It was great to see the advancements that have already been made in this nascent field.”
A healthy alternative
Grown in a solution of carotenoids and other nutrients that provide the red colour of salmon in the wild, Wild Type’s product doesn’t contain any artificial colours. And unlike traditional fish, it is guaranteed to be free of plastic and heavy metals.
The company had their first restaurant moment in June this year when they introduced some of their products at Maylin Chavez’ Olympia Oyster Bar in Portland, Oregon, and Josh Petri and Lydia Mulvany’s review was published by Bloomberg. A few weeks later, The New York Times went big on Wild Type’s salmon.
Fish without bycatch
The production of cultured fish and seafood is not dependent on destructive fishing methods such as bottom trawling. So there would be no devastating bycatch involved or killing of aquatic species such as dolphins or turtles.
A global switch to cultured seafood products would remove the destructive impacts of industrial fishing practices. It would take some years for these impacts – such as nutrient and effluent build-up, the spread of diseases to wild fish populations, the effects of drugs on marine ecosystems, and escaped farmed fish competing with native species for food – to fade, but eventually ocean life would get a chance to recover.
Food of the future
“We’re excited about providing a delicious new option in seafood,” says Kolbeck. “While we have a lot of work ahead of us, we’re ready to share our early products with partners in the food industry.” Wild Type are open to developing partnerships with people who are interested in learning about and working with this new food type.
Meanwhile, ProVeg’s Cellular Agriculture Project booth at the Cultured Meat Symposium 2019 also got the thumbs up. “It gave us the opportunity to present the work we do in the Cellular Agriculture Project, which includes research, consumer acceptance, communication, food industry and startup networking, and regulation,” said Nathalie. “We made interesting connections for this project and for the ProVeg Incubator programme.”
About the author
Cellular Agriculture Specialist, ProVeg International