Gulf Nation to Commercialize Fish 3D Printing via Multi-million Dollar Deal with Steakholder Foods

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3D printed food, particularly 3D printed meat, is an area generating considerable excitement. The concept seems straightforward: grow nutrients in a vat, then utilize 3D printing to create structures that resemble real meat, devoid of animal cruelty. However, the reality is far more complex. It’s yet unclear whether companies can effectively scale nutrient growth and 3D printing to address significant food needs, and the energy and water usage of these processes remain undetermined. While 3D printed food could potentially be a more ethical, environmentally friendly alternative, the feasibility of this remains to be confirmed.
To transition this concept into a viable business, substantial investment and a defined path to commercialization are necessary. In light of this, the Israeli firm, Steakholder Foods, known for everything from 3D printed eel to chicken fat, has recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement for Strategic Cooperation (MOA) with an unidentified governmental body from one of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. This agreement seeks to advance food security through the application of Steakholder Foods’ innovative 3D printing technology.
The MOA is an agreement outlining how various organizations will collaborate and to what end. The mention of a “GCC based governmental body” is somewhat vague, indicating only that the entity is part of the government of a GCC member state, which includes Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain. This collaboration between Israeli and Arabic firms to address mutual concerns such as food security is a hopeful sign, especially given the ongoing societal challenges within Israel.
The undisclosed identity of the partner country or body suggests that this partnership may be in its early stages or involves sensitive negotiations. Could it be that Saudi Arabia has allied with this Israeli firm to 3D print fish, thus addressing food insecurity and fostering high-tech industries, for a price comparable to the annual salary of a top footballer like Mbappé? Although it would be a refreshing change for Saudi leaders to focus on creating culinary delicacies rather than resorting to political intrigue, the reality could be quite different. Obviously, the astounding Line construction project will require much ceviche, so 3D printing fish sounds all together too sensible for the Kingdom. With Dubai likely excluded as they would have been named in the press release, speculation surrounds a lesser-known but respected body in Sharjah. It is all a bit mysterious.
Steakholder Foods has announced that this multi-million-dollar agreement will fund the development of a pilot plant for “hybrid fish products”—a blend of plant or algae with fish cells. As milestones are achieved, the partner will receive equipment from Steakholder, and further funding will be released. The ultimate goal is the industrial-scale deployment of this technology in the partner country, with aspirations to expand exports throughout the region and develop innovative foods with enhanced taste and nutrition.
“After intensive years of development, Steakholder Foods is excited to sign this first agreement with a strategic partner, generating our first income stream that represents one of the first substantial income agreements for a company in the cultivated meat industry, a huge step forward. We believe that we have chosen the right partner, and together, we are committed to advancing the cause of food security and creating a positive impact on the world,” said Steakholder Foods CEO Arik Kaufman.

¨This strategic partnership marks a pivotal moment in our journey to commercialize our 3D printing capabilities. Looking ahead, we remain committed to pursuing additional strategic partnerships to enable us to deliver innovative solutions for the foodtech industry,” said

Steakholder Vice President of Business Development Yair Ayalon.

The future of 3D printed food remains uncertain. However, even a minor breakthrough in the vast food industry could signify a major success for 3D printing. If we can produce ethical, environmentally-friendly, nutritious, and cost-effective food using 3D printing, it could prove to be one of the most impactful areas of 3D printing overall.

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