Shiok Meats, a Singaporean startup founded by Ka Yi Ling and Sandhya Sriram in 2018 is revolutionizing the food industry by using biotechnology. The company is leading the charge in sustainable seafood alternatives and primarily focuses on seafood, especially crustaceans like shrimp.
The global food industry is one of the most essential business sectors due to the nature of the product. Food is essential to life, and the industry surrounding it is as vast as it is essential. One of the biggest areas of research in the industry is concerned with sustainable and ethical food cultivation, specifically meat and other animal products.
The rise of veganism has seen plenty of products in the market that act as meat or protein substitutes. Despite being ethical and good for our health as well as the environment, they are not as popular as traditional protein sources. The main reason for this is the cost, as well as the unfamiliarity surrounding these items. Meat substitutes can tackle this to an extent, but only if they are effective in mimicking traditional meat products, as well as being cheap to purchase.
Shiok Meats creates and sells products that are essentially cell-based meat substitutes. Shiok Meats focus on seafood, specifical crustaceans like shrimp and lobster. An alternative to traditional fishing, Shiok Meats have a unique, cell-based clean cultivation of meats from crustaceans like Shrimp, Crabs and Lobster.
Shiok Meats – The Business Model
Cell-based cultivation of meats has been around for some time and is one of the most grounded applications of biotechnology in the food industry. While we traditionally slaughter animals for meat, this method utilizes animal cells to cultivate the same. It is cleaner, sustainable, and is virtually the same in taste and composition. They are the best option for meat consumers who do not want to go vegan but still want to consume ethically sourced clean meat.
The most popular cell-based substitutes are that of Chicken and Beef, which are predominant in western countries. However, Shiok Meats is the first cell-based meat company in SE Asia, as well as the first to create commercially viable faux shrimp. This unique feature allows them to leverage the immense popularity of seafood, and market a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to commercial fishing.
The Impact and Growth
Commercial fishing has a tremendous ecological impact on the marine environment. They can diminish the food supply for marine life, upset ecological balances, and harm the biodiversity of the ocean. Just like the other aspects of the food industry, sustainable alternatives allow us to deviate from these harmful norms. Cell-based meats and seafood are a great start to creating alternative sources of food that are cleaner and more sustainable in the long run.
The company has amassed a total of $12.6 Million in Series A funding, led by Aqua Spark and followed by SEEDS Capital, Toyo Seikan Group Holdings and others. They have recently obtained a new deal to use technology from the Japanese cell-based meat company IntegriCulture. This is expected to bring their costs down from $300/kg to $50/kg of meat. The company aims to expand its hold over the Asia Pacific as well as the US Market, introducing them to a cleaner alternative that is more sustainable, and in it for the long run.