Big Idea Ventures’ Director of Programming explains why we should be excited for an Alt-Seafood future.
Introducing Dr. Dalal AlGhawas
Dr. Dalal AlGhawas (pictured above) is an Agri-tech businesswoman who has worked extensively in food, biotechnology and medical sciences. She began working in investment as a scientific advisor, before becoming the Program Director Singapore for Big Idea Ventures (BIV).
Dr. AlGhawas is active in supporting the alternative protein movement, regularly speaking at conferences and with companies, to understand how they can retrofit their supply chains to incorporate alternative proteins. She has supported over 100 companies to get funding and establish strategic R&D partnerships, including alternative seafood companies. So why is Dr. AlGhawas and the whole BIV team hooked on the idea of faux-fish?
Why the recent surge in alt-seafood investments?
There are so many potential varieties of seafood and products to explore with alternatives. People often equate seafood with whitefish, like tuna or snapper, but the category has an almost endless number of species to develop alternatives for. From the world’s first cultivated crustacean company Shiok meats making shrimp, crab and lobster to Pearlita developing the first cultivated oyster.
Alt-seafood also has great potential for localization. The varieties and ways of eating seafood differ greatly around the world. Companies can experiment with all types of products – not only whole cuts. We have a company in our portfolio, Fisheroo that is developing cultivated surimi for example.
There are good reasons to get on board with exploring all these opportunities in alt-seafood. Overfishing species to the point of near extinction, and destructive commercial fishing practices that devastate marine ecosystems, to name a few.
More and more innovators are starting to work on alternatives as a solution to these problems. Ingenuity and opportunity are already coming together to produce exciting results and new innovations.
We’re seeing alternative seafood transcend the food category. For example, Avant Meats, who make cultivated meat and seafood has commercialized their ingredients through cosmetic products.
Another example is Jellatech, one of BIV’s portfolio companies, who used cells from jellyfish and marine origins to cultivate gelatin and collagen, with commercial applications in medical and cosmetic products.
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