BlueNalu of U.S. signs deal with Thai Union for cell seafood

Sustainable seafood took a big leap forward last week when Thai Union, the world’s largest tuna company, secured an agreement with San Diego’s BlueNalu to develop a market for cell-cultured fish products in Thailand and the region.

Cell-cultured seafood is fish meat made by taking existing fish cells and multiplying them. Other companies are attempting to do the same with chicken and other meat. It reduces the environmental impacts of fishing and farming and eliminates animal cruelty while still giving consumers actual meat instead of meat substitutes.

The agreement advances Thai Union’s goal of championing sustainability in the seafood industry. Once criticized for its fishing practices, in recent years, Thai Union has reformed its business methods, improved traceability, and cleaned up its supply chains. The company has earned praise from organizations such as Greenpeace.

Thai Union CEO Thiraphong Chansiri has led the company to invest in a range of startups in seafood and food technology with the aim of reducing the company’s impacts on the oceans and the environment. Part of that is supporting research and development into alternative proteins and next-generation consumables.

“We are excited by the collaborations with 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 and CEO of BlueNalu.

BlueNalu also signed a similar agreement with Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation to promote and build a market for cell-cultured fish meat in Asia.

The agreements call for 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.

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