UMAMI Bioworks and Shiok Meats to Combine Fish 3D Printing Tech via Merger


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UMAMI Bioworks and Shiok Meats are set to merge. These two 3D printed seafood firms aim to combine UMAMI’s manufacturing strengths with Shiok’s expertise in regenerative medicine applied to fish cells. The firms believe that this collaboration will accelerate their joint regulatory compliance and market entry scaling efforts. The merged company will be led by UMAMI’s CEO, Mihir Pershad.
“Uniting UMAMI’s platform technologies around continuous biomanufacturing and machine learning-based automation with Shiok Meats’ groundbreaking crustacean work offers an expedited path to the cultivation of a range of sustainable seafood products. The technological and business synergies of this merger represent a vital strategic step towards addressing the critical challenges of cultivated seafood production and advancing our mission to supply sustainable, not-caught seafood without compromising the planet’s health,” said Pershad.
“By bringing together these two iconic companies, we are creating a strong platform to make the vision of cultivated seafood a reality. The combined business means increased scale and speed to market in Asia and globally. The strong technology and team Umami has built will be the perfect custodian of the progress Shiok Meats has made on crustaceans, especially with our patent recently granted in the EU. I have always believed in consolidation to progress a novel industry like ours. I’m excited by the opportunities for what this new combined organization will achieve,” stated Shiok Meats CEO Sandhya Sriram.

UMAMI and Shiok are based in Singapore, which has emerged as a leader in the investment and fast-tracking of regulatory approvals for cultivated meat. Given that Singapore must import nearly all of its food, low-carbon, lower-energy, and particularly space-efficient food alternatives are highly appealing to the island state. Moreover, many consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the ethical concerns associated with traditional farming, especially regarding meat production and seafood. Concerns about microplastics, environmental impact, and consumption ethics are driving people to consider cultivated meat as a viable option. Additionally, there is significant buzz surrounding the technology.

However, the term “lab-grown meat” has been known to hinder adoption. A strong public relations effort will be necessary to make it a desirable and preferable choice for consumers. Investor interest has surged towards ethical meat companies, attracted by the potential for products to generate billions in revenue with potentially lower costs per kilo than traditional meats and fish. However, scaling the growth medium and 3D printing stages of the production process to meet price and demand targets remains challenging. Consider, for instance, how long it would take an industrial or desktop machine to produce a billion hamburgers. Although cost structures have been difficult to manage, and while some companies have received tens of millions in funding, it has not been a windfall like in the New Space sector, where several firms received hundreds of millions. Therefore, a more solid, longer-term, and focused consolidation phase seems logical.

Currently, Steakholder Foods’ stock is trading at $0.60, a significant decrease from $10. Meanwhile, Beyond Meat, which once became a global sensation and achieved $400 million in revenue, had a valuation of $3.8 billion. However, this firm, which should theoretically have a lower cost per kilo than companies focused on regenerative medicine-based alternatives, is not performing well. Beyond Meat, a leading company in the industry, reported a $73.7 million revenue in Q4, a decrease of 7.8% year-over-year. The company also reported a loss of $83.9 million in the same quarter. For the year, revenues were down by 18.0%. This financial performance does not offer much hope to investors that a massive industry opportunity is on the horizon.

Is there hope beyond Beyond Meat? If the newly combined Shiok-UMAMI entity remains patient and provides its investors with a clear path to disrupt the fish industry, then untold riches could potentially await. Steakholder Foods, leveraging UMAMI’s technology for its products, currently sees Revo Foods as its only real competitor at this stage. If its products are appealing in taste and the company can control costs, the future could indeed be very bright for these combined Singaporean food startups.

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