Founded in 2020 (formerly Bluu Biosciences), Bluu Seafood is one of several companies working to solve the world’s seafood production problems, including overfishing, pollution from heavy metals and plastics, and harsh environments. To do this, the Berlin-based company starts with a single “disposable” fish biopsy (for which the fish does not have to be killed), and then uses stem cell technology to develop complete cell lines (fish fingerlings) in a laboratory setting.
Today, Bluu is launching its first two products, fish sticks and fish balls, made from cultured fish cells and enriched with vegetable protein, a process designed to optimize how they cook and how they feel in the mouth. Countless companies are working on the same problems as Bluu, with San Francisco-based Wildtype recently securing $100 million to develop “sushi-grade” farmed salmon, and South Korea’s CellMeat raising some cash for lab-grown shrimp . Bluu raised $7 million in seed funding last year.
So it’s clear that there’s a real push to create sustainable “synthetic” seafood. From Bluu’s point of view, this sustainability lies in the so-called “immortal” cells, so once it creates the initial biomass using real fish cells, everything can be self-sufficient from then on, in the process No real fish or GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are used in it. The magic of immortal cells is that when normal cells double, say 20 times, and then stop, the immortal cells keep doubling, theoretically doubling forever.
The key difference for Bluu is also the type of fish it is currently studying. For example, companies like Wildtype focus on Pacific salmon, while Bluu is working on Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and carp. Beyond that, Bluu was initially trying to simplify products like fish sticks and fish balls, rather than trying to recreate more complex edible materials like sashimi.