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Forsea debuts cell-cultivated eel Unagi with premier tasting event
Tuesday, 11 June, 2024, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Rehovot, Israel
Cultivated seafood start-up Forsea Foods Ltd. put its cell-cultivated freshwater eel Unagi creation to the test—the taste test, that is. The cultivated seafood start-up hosted the first official tasting of its cultured freshwater eel at the chic Tel-Aviv restaurant “a” and welcomed an intimate gathering of 40 guests.The exclusive group included investors, journalists, and key opinion leaders in the food industry, as well as representatives from the Japanese embassy and various Japanese food companies based in Israel.

On the menu were three culinary fish creations which included Forsea’s cell-cultivated iteration of Unagi Kabayaki—grilled fresh eel on a bed of aromatic rice. This traditional Japanese dish was featured as the centrepiece of the menu.

On a mission to save wild eel populations, and other species at risk, the company pioneered a new approach to cell cultivating fish tissues outside their native water habitats by applying organoid technology. Forsea’s patent-protected method involves creating the ideal environment for fish cells to spontaneously assemble themselves into three-dimensional tissue structures with their natural composition of fat, muscle and connective tissue. This method is designed to echo the natural growth process of these tissues in a living fish, aligning cell-based technology more closely with nature.

The added benefits to this method of cell-cultivation is that it bypasses the scaffolding stage and dramatically reduces the dependence on costly growth factors. This makes the process highly scalable, raising its commercial viability as well price parity with traditionally aquafarmed eel meat. Wild eel has been experiencing severe supply shortages due to overfishing, while aquafarming of eel remains difficult, and breeding eel in captivity remains elusive.

This shortfall occurs amidst a surge in demand for the Japanese delicacy, not only among the Japanese population but also across Asia, the United States and Europe. This has resulted in a jump in the wholesale price of freshwater eels to as high as US$60 per kilo.

“Forsea’s unique organoid technology has the potential to overcome many of the industry bottlenecks in bringing cultivated meat to the consumer plate,” asserts Roee Nir, CEO and co-founder of Forsea. “Since the start of the year,we made significant advancements in improving our cell lines. We also have been working diligently to enhance our recipes. This event was a great opportunity for us to present our unprecedented achievements to partners and industry stakeholders.”
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