US – Alternative proteins startup Cultured Decadence has closed a US$1.6 million pre-seed financing round to accelerate the development of cell-cultured lobster meat.

Investors in the oversubscribed round include Bluestein Ventures, Joyance Partners, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Gener8tor, GlassWall Syndicate, Bascom Ventures, and China-based Dao Foods.

The company also received a grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation administered by the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC), reportedly marking the first-ever state government funding for cellular agriculture.

Cultured Decadence has developed a technology that utilises the cells of shellfish such as lobster to make real meat without the shell or organs, in an attempt to offer a more sustainable and unique seafood solution at a lower price.

The company says its technology can be applied broadly to the US$160 billion market for seafood including lobster, crab, shrimp and scallops.

Based in Wisconsin, the start-up plans to use the capital to expand its team and continue the development of cell-cultured lobster meat prototypes in preparation for a commercial launch.

Cultured Decadence’s technology is among many that have been developed recently to provide alternative protein to meat which is regarded as unsustainable due to its impact on the environment.

Earlier this month, Finnish alternative protein startup Solar Foods secured US$60 million to also accelerate development of its novel alternative protein technology that creates meat from air and electricity.

All these developments in the sector came against a backdrop of increased consumer interest in the market.

A recently released SPINS data by the Good Food Institute and the Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA), showed that the Plant-based meat had US$1.4 billion in sales, growing 45% overall compared to 2019 and making up 2.7% of all U.S. retail packaged meat sales.

Part of the shift to alternative proteins is their modest impact on the environment when compared to animal protein and the capacity to economically scale up production to meet increasing food demand.

It is also noteworthy to report that cultured meat startup EatJust received regulatory approval from Singaporean authorities for commercial sale of its lab grown chicken.

This approval was a key milestone as it paves way for approval of other meat products that are developed in the lab with minimal input from animals.

 “The way we engage with animals as a food source needs to change if we are to thrive as a planet,” said John Pattison, CEO and co-founder of Cultured Decadence.

“Our team is at the forefront of that change as we build the future of seafood a thousand miles from the nearest ocean. We are pleased to partner with an experienced group of investors that share our vision and are eager to accelerate our technology to bring transformative seafood products to market,” he added.

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