The company first launched its cell-based shrimp prototype (Shiok Shrimp) in April 2019, in the form of siew mai (Chinese steamed dumplings).
In an exclusive tasting event FoodNavigator-Asia attended, the company showcased its cell-based lobster prototype in two dishes – lobster gazpacho and lobster terrine.
Shiok Meats hopes that its products can provide an additional protein source to the already strained global food supply, by offering a nutritious, healthy, tasty and sustainable option.
On the same day, Shiok Meats also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to advance food innovation, research and training in the cell-based meat and seafood sector.
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According to Dr Ka Yi Ling, Shiok Meats’ CTO and co-founder, the company chose to develop a lobster product, because of its research knowledge in crustaceans.
The lobster meat is cultivated using the same technology as its cell-based shrimp, which isolates stem cells from lobsters, then growing them in nutrient-rich conditions and harvested several weeks after.
Between shrimp and lobster, Ling said lobster was more complicated to produce because of its size, shape and taste, but the company was working on its optimal nutrient growing conditions.
Currently, its cell-based shrimp take between four to six weeks to produce, and its lobster is expected to take a couple weeks longer.
Apart from producing meat from shrimp and lobster, Shiok Meats said its production process can also yield shrimp or lobster flavourings.
“The flavourings are in the patent process, but it will be available in liquid, powder or paste format,” Dr Sandhya Sriram, CEO and co-founder of Shiok Meats said.
Shiok Meats is also looking to introduce a cell-based crab prototype in a few months.
Commercialistion and manufacturing plans
Currently, the prototype of shrimp and lobsters are still in development, and are not available for commercial sale. The nation’s food authority, Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has not allowed the sale of any cell-based seafood manufactured by Shiok Meats.
Shiok Meats has set its sights on commercialising Shiok Shrimp in 2022.
Sriram said the firm is looking to build a manufacturing plant located in Senoko, Singapore, scheduled to be operational by 2022.
It is using its US$12.6 million Series A funding to fund the construction.
Once its manufacturing site is up, the firm will be able to get approval to sell its products.
Sriram said: “We are working and consulting with SFA, and are hopeful to get regulatory approval closer to our commercialisation.”
When the firm first launched Shiok Shrimp as a prototype in 2019, it cost about US$7,000/kg to produce. By the end of 2021, the firm hopes to bring the price point down to US$50/kg.
Currently, its cell-based lobster is more expensive to produce than shrimp, however Sriram said the company is intending to bring prices down similarly to US$50/kg in the future.
Once commercialised, the Shiok-branded products will be launched via B2B, mostly in food service outlets such as restaurants.
The company intends to launch in Singapore first before targeting Asia-Pacific.
“Singapore is the most forward-thinking country in terms of cell-based foods. It will be a good test market for us to launch first, with different nationalities, cultures and cuisines,” Sriram added.
Research and training capabilities
Shiok Meats was earlier approached by SP on collaboration opportunities, and the MoU is the first between a cell-based meat company and a polytechnic in Singapore.
Through the MoU, Shiok Meats will work together with SP on food research, utilising its facilities, especially in conducting texture analysis.
Shiok Meats will also provide internship placements for SP students.