Today, Forsea Foods announced they have successfully created what they claim is the world’s first prototype of cell-cultivated freshwater eel. Working with Katsumi Kusumoto, executive chef of Tokyo’s vegan restaurant SAIDO, the Israel-based startup crafted two traditional Japanese dishes using the cultivated eel: unagi kabayaki and unagi nigiri.
The company chose cell-cultivated eel as its initial focus for a couple of reasons: First, the eel remains one of the most popular seafoods in Japan and sushi restaurants worldwide, which has put the population of this seafood under significant stress due to overfishing. Second, it’s a premium fish, which means initial pricing for the product will be much higher than commodified categories of fish or meat.
“Unagi is an enduring favorite in Japan,” said Kusumoto. “Its timeless appeal, however, is impacted by a growing awareness among the Japanese population of the need to take a more sustainable approach. It’s been a thrilling journey to join forces with emerging innovators, and working together to deliver the traditional unagi indulgence with a clear eco-conscience.”
Forsea’s novel approach uses organoid technology to create 3D microtissues of fat and muscle, which differentiate into edible cells without scaffold support. This simplifies production and enhances scalability, addressing major industry challenges.
“Forsea is at the forefront of addressing critical environmental issues,” says Roee Nir, CEO and co-founder. “Our cultured unagi aims to offer a genuine seafood experience without the ecological footprint.”
The company is eyeing commercial launch in 2025, targeting Japan, Asia, the EU, and the US.