By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
Chicago-based meals tech startup Aqua Cultured Meals is innovating within the alt-seafood area with its actually vegan merchandise created by means of microbial fermentation.
On the menu are fungi-based seafood analogs together with “whole-muscle minimize tuna and whitefish, popcorn shrimp, calamari, and scallop alternate options,” in response to a March 2022 press launch. Aqua Cultured Meals in contemporary or frozen varieties, breaded or seasoned, are within the pipeline. The primary industrial product, calamari fries, was just lately unveiled.
The startup’s web site states: “Aqua’s merchandise include no microplastics, mercury, pesticides, antibiotics, dioxin or PCBs” like typical seafood might include. The merchandise are secure for individuals with seafood allergy symptoms. They’re soy- and gluten-free.
In accordance with Aqua’s web site, their fermentation strategies don’t use any animal inputs, genetic altering or modification, and are non-GMO. “We’re not messing with its DNA sequence or altering its genetic materials as a result of we wish to keep that non-GMO standing,” Anne Palermo, CEO of Aqua Cultured Meals, reported to FoodNavigator.
In contrast to many different plant-based meat alternate options produced from starches and protein isolates derived from soy, pea, or different plant-based extracts, Aqua Cultured Meals seafood analogs are mycoprotein (fungal) and produced by microbial fermentation. The ensuing fibrous biomass retains “naturally occurring fiber, protein, and different micronutrients.”
In a 2021 FoodDrive article, Palermo described their fermentation methodology as versatile: “By various stress ranges, humidity and gases throughout the manufacturing course of, the identical protein may be made right into a flaky fish analog, meaty popcorn shrimp, or chewy calamari ring.”
Palermo additional defined their approach in a 2021 Simply Meals article: “Mainly, it’s a really new and completely different method of manufacturing mushrooms. Relatively than rising them on a strong substrate reminiscent of coconut husks or sawdust, we’re rising protein in a liquid broth.”
A FoodNavigator February 2022 article states their calamari analog has, per serving, fewer energy, no sodium, extra protein, and not one of the saturated fats or ldl cholesterol as typical calamari. In contrast to fiberless marine calamari, every serving of Aqua’s product accommodates 10-12g of fiber.
In a September 2021 FoodNavigator article about Aqua Cultured Meals, Palermo describes their alt seafood analogs as “tasteless.” So, including chemical masking brokers to cover bitter off flavors – like different corporations do – isn’t essential. Because of this, their ingredient labeling and branding terminology shall be easy and clear – however as of but no particulars can be found besides that vegan omega-3s are added to the breading.
The Vegetarian Useful resource Group corresponded with Anne Palermo, CEO of Aqua Cultured Meals, about their vegan mycoprotein merchandise through their publicist, Gary Smith, in August 2022. We needed to substantiate that completely no animal substances, together with animal-sourced genetic materials from a digital DNA library, had been used of their manufacturing course of from begin to end.
Listed below are our questions adopted by Anne’s responses:
The VRG: Are you able to please verify:
- Your merchandise include no animal-derived substances.
- There isn’t a animal- or dairy-derived genetic materials within the microbes used to make your merchandise. This contains no animal DNA (together with genes coding for dairy substances) from a digital library.
- There are not any animal- or dairy-derived substances within the nutrient progress medium. This contains cane sugar processed by means of cow bone char.
Anne Palermo: All three statements are true. Zero animal inputs in any section of growth and finish product. Once we are in full scale manufacturing (and at current), we are going to use 100% plant-based substances…our goal is to take away animals from the meals system and that features utilizing inputs that don’t include animal-derived substances or refined by means of using animal inputs.
The VRG adopted up by asking for particulars on their market launch.
Gary Smith instructed us: “Aqua expects to do tasting occasions with some restaurant companions later this yr (to gauge shopper acceptance), after which product introductions in markets through distribution companions in 2023…at first they gained’t be going to grocery/retail, nor direct to shoppers. Their plan is to signal agreements with foodservice suppliers.”
Keep tuned to The VRG Weblog for all of the specifics on Aqua Cultured Meals upcoming market launch.
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