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Cell-Based Seafood: A New Possibility For Food 

 July 16, 2020

By  Lexi Braicovich

You’ve heard the talk about “lab-grown” food, right? Scientists are growing meat and now fish from cells, creating an amazing new world of possibilities for food. 

The cell-based seafood maker BlueNalu combined with Rutgers University psychologist, William K. Hallman, Ph.D., has tested over 3,000 names to see what resonates best with consumers. Changing the name of the food created from “lab-grown” to “cell-based” was crowned the winner. It was important to pick a name that wasn’t confusing and painted a clear picture of what it was. The FDA and USDA require a common and clear name for consumers to be able to identify the food without any hesitancy.  

Because they are growing seafood, which has several legal requirements, the name must make it clear that it’s cell-based and not wild-caught or farm fresh. Hallman must also mark the food as an allergen for those with a seafood allergy. Cell-based seafood also seemed to have a higher approval rating than other proteins.  

More than three dozen companies are working on different cell-based proteins and not just with seafood but also with chicken nuggets, wagyu beef, and ahi tuna.  

The reason why this process has not gone quicker is that those cells that it takes to start the growth process are very expensive pharmaceutical-grade nutrients. They have been working to find a cheaper alternative, but it hasn’t been easy to find one that has the same quality and robust cell growth. Companies are also very competitive, trying to be the first to make the breakthrough. The lack of transparency with their peers means they don’t collaborate, not building off of each other’s work. BlueNalu says they are on track to make a small commercial release near the end of 2021.  

In an article from Forbes, Hallman says, “critics are more likely to use terms like “lab meat” or “fake meat,” while animal advocates would prefer to see the more laudatory “clean meat” on the label.”  

In Hallman’s research, even though “cell-based” came out on top, the term “cell-cultured” was a pretty close second. Other companies have yet to jump on board with the term “cell-based” and the final term is still yet to be decided on. Hallman’s results brings them a step closer to getting an industry-wide label of their products.  

Look out for these alternatives, they’re coming!!  

Lexi Braicovich
Marketing Coordinator

Lexi Braicovich


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