Singapore – Shiok Meats Pte. Ltd. (Shiok Meats), the world’s first cell-based crustacean meat company, showcased the world’s first-ever cell-based crab meat, on 26th August 2021. The company is headquartered in Singapore and is the first cell-based meat company in the region.
Shiok Meats presented the world’s first-ever cell-based crab meat in a private event in Singapore. Collaborating with Chef José Luis Del Amo of TheTasteLab, Shiok Meats presented two of Singapore’s culinary repertoire – Crab Cake and Chilli Crab, complemented by Lobster-flavored Potato Chips and Tom Yum Shrimp Soup, all prepared with Shiok Meats’ cell-based meats. The event was held at Kebaya, an eclectic restaurant in Bukit Timah, Singapore.
The event is an important milestone for Shiok Meats, signifying a step closer to bringing delicious cell-based crustacean meat to consumers by 2023. Shiok Meats will continue to place a strong emphasis on its R&D and commercialization plans including building the first-ever cell-based seafood manufacturing plant in Singapore.
In March 2019, just seven months after the company was started, Shiok Meats showcased their first Shrimp prototype in Siew Mai (Chinese steamed dumplings). In November 2020, Shiok Meats showcased their first Lobster prototype in two dishes. Ever since, they have been working on many more prototype dishes with their cell-based shrimp and lobster meat, while they have started working on cell-based crab as well.
The Crab Cake dish was created with Shiok Meats’ crab and OmniMeat as a cell-based and plant-based blend.
The Chilli Crab dish was created with Shiok Meats’ crab and served with Mantou Buns.
The Tom Yum Soup was prepared with Shiok Meats’ shrimp and Roquette plant-based meatballs made with NUTRALYS® textured pea protein from Roquette.
The Lobster-flavored potato chips were prepared with Shiok Meats’ lobster.
“The ingredient is really versatile, and it works well across different cuisines, including local Asian dishes. Also, it’s fantastic that we can now prepare delicious meals with sustainable crab meat.”, said Chef José.
The Need for Alternative Seafood
According to FAO, there is a huge demand for crab and the prices have been rising. Live crab exports rose by 20 percent to US$ 652 million, with China and the Republic of Korea each accounting for just under 50 percent of the total. Retail sales of crab were up by 60 percent compared to 2019. The crab market is insatiable as consumers shift to home consumption and are willing to pay higher retail prices for quality products.
Previous research has suggested that fisheries targeting crustaceans consume substantial quantities of fuel while catching relatively low amounts of animals. Changing consumer preference for shellfish, over more traditional net-caught fish since 1990, has seen a massive spike in pollution due to the way shellfish and crustaceans are caught. Besides demand for these crustaceans, a global decline in fish stocks has led to an increased focus on relatively healthy stocks of crustaceans.
In just a few decades, the rising popularity of lobster and shrimp has driven a 60% increase in production, according to the Nature Climate Change study. Studies have shown that carbon emissions of lobster and shrimp are more than that of chicken, pork and even beef. Paired with the more intensive fuel use that shrimp, crab and lobster trawling methods require, these fisheries have become the biggest drivers of fishing-related emissions increase: today they account for 22% of the emissions total, despite making up just 6% of global catch landings. Hence, sustainable and climate-friendly crab, lobster and shrimp meat is the need of the hour.
Shiok Meats stands out from other cell-based meat production companies because of its proprietary technology that isolates stem cells from shrimp, lobster, and crab—they are the first company to be able to do this for cell-based production. Once the stem cells are harvested, the shrimp, lobster, and crab meats are grown in nutrient-rich conditions, similar to that of a greenhouse. After four-to-six weeks, the cell-based seafood is exactly the same as its conventional counterpart but more sustainable, clean, and nutritious. Shiok Meats’ patent-pending technology can grow crustaceans four times faster than conventional production.
Dr. Sandhya Sriram, CEO and Dr. Ka Yi Ling, CTO (co-founders of Shiok Meats):
“We are ecstatic that we were able to showcase the first-ever cell-based crab meat that we produced in our facility. We are humbled by the support and enthusiasm of our team, investors, and collaborators. In this exclusive tasting event, we invited some of the key stakeholders in the food and alternative protein industry. Our mission is to develop cell-based crustacean meats that are contributing towards a cleaner and healthier seafood industry and solving for the inefficiencies around global protein production. We are working very hard on making sure that our products are delicious, healthy, and affordable in the long run.”