Forsea Foods lets people try cell-cultivated eel unagi in Israel


  • Forsea Foods Cell Cultivated Eel - credit Liran MaimonForsea Foods Cell Cultivated Eel - credit Liran Maimon
  • Forsea tasting event in Restaurant 'a' - credits Liran Maimon for Forsea Foods

Cultivated seafood start-up Forsea Foods Ltd. put its cell-cultivated freshwater eel unagi creation to the test—the taste test, that is. The cultivated seafood start-up hosted an official tasting of its cultured freshwater eel at the chic Tel-Aviv restaurant ‘a’ and welcomed an intimate gathering of 40 guests. The exclusive group included investors, journalists, and key opinion leaders in the food industry, as well as representatives from the Japanese embassy and various Japanese food  companies based in Israel.

We love eel and the fact that we better can’t eat it due to the fact it’s an endangered species, is such a pity. That’s why we love the idea of cell-cultivated eel unagi! Forsea Foods thinks that its debut product will be primed for commercial roll-out by 2026 and is currently forging connections with strategic partners in Japan. More details in this article and in the article we wrote about a tasting in Japan of the same eel in January 2024!  

2 minutes read

About the cell-cultivated eel unagi of Forsea

On the menu were three culinary fish creations which included Forsea Foods’ cell-cultivated iteration of unagi kabayaki—grilled fresh eel on a bed of aromatic rice. This traditional Japanese dish was featured as the centerpiece of the menu.

On a mission to save wild eel populations, and other species at risk, the company pioneered a new approach to cell cultivating fish tissues outside their native water habitats by applying organoid technology. Forsea Foods’ patent-protected method involves creating the ideal environment for fish cells to spontaneously assemble themselves into three-dimensional tissue structures with their natural composition of fat, muscle and connective tissue. This method is designed to echo the natural growth process of these tissues in a living fish, aligning cell-based technology more closely with nature.

The added benefits to this method of cell-cultivation is that it bypasses the scaffolding stage and dramatically reduces the dependence on costly growth factors. This makes the process highly scalable, raising its commercial viability as well price parity with traditionally aquafarmed eel meat. Wild eel has been experiencing severe supply shortages due to overfishing, while aquafarming of eel remains difficult, and breeding eel in captivity remains elusive.

This shortfall occurs amidst a surge in demand for the Japanese delicacy, not only among the Japanese population but also across Asia, the United States and Europe. This has resulted in a jump in the wholesale price of freshwater eels to as high as USD60 per kilo.

“Forsea’s unique organoid technology has the potential to overcome many of the industry bottlenecks in bringing cultivated meat to the consumer plate,” asserts Roee Nir, CEO and co-founder of Forsea. “Since the start of the year, we made significant advancements in improving our cell lines. We also have been working diligently to enhance our recipes. This event was a great opportunity for us to present our unprecedented achievements to partners and industry stakeholders.”

About the cell-cultivated eel | Free of pollutants, chemicals and microplastics

At the closed dining event, guests enjoyed the first tastings of Forsea’s cultured eel unagi filets. Forsea’s creation embodies the flavor and smooth, tender texture of traditional eel unagi. It is free of pollutants (such as mercury), industrial chemicals, and microplastics. It also is highly sustainable and helps protect the aquatic environment and its inhabitants.

Celebrated Israeli gourmet chef Yuval Ben Neriah, specialist in Asian cuisine and owner of the five elements-inspired restaurant Taizo located in Tel Aviv, played a pivotal role in fine tuning the finished product to capture the authentic flavor and sensory attributes of the Japanese specialty.

“As a chef who spent many years tantalizing diners with fine Asian cuisine, this project with Forsea has been particularly exciting as it marks my first venture into future food and the world of cell-cultured seafood and its resonating sustainability message,” says Ben Neriah, chef of restaurant a.

“The feedback from the diners was indeed uplifting. Several remarked that they wouldn’t have guessed that the unagi was cell-cultivated had they not been informed.”

Website: Forsea Food    

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