Neom Invests in Cellular Aquaculture Startup BlueNalu

NIF Partners Up With San-Diego Based Food Tech Firm to Scale up Cell-cultured Seafood Production

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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KSA’s net zero city Neom has invested $20 mn to support US-based food tech company BlueNalu in scaling their operations and commercializing sustainable seafood practices globally.

The newly formed Neom Invested Fund (NIF)and BlueNalu signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enter a partnership to enhance food security and sustainability in the region. The agreement covers advancing the commercialization, marketing, and distribution of BlueNalu’s cell-cultured seafood regionally and conducting consumer research.

Core objectives of the MoU include supporting the establishment of a food innovation ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, conducting consumer research, and engaging with regulatory agencies for the approval and sale of these novel foods.

Cell-cultured seafood is produced directly from fish cells. This technology can produce seafood with the same taste, texture, and nutritional value as conventional products but with a significantly reduced environmental impact. “By combining our global expertise in cell-cultured seafood with NEOM’s extraordinary vision, we can accelerate the development of innovative, renewable food solutions,” said Lou Cooperhouse, Founder, President & CEO of BlueNalu in a company statement.

Like cell-cultivated meats, cell-cultivated seafood is a form of lab-grown protein. It is made directly from fish cells that are fed a mixture of nutrients to multiply. The cells then are concentrated and form seafood portions.

Blue Nalu is a San Diego-based innovator in cell-based seafood products and aims to support the sustainability and diversity of oceanic ecosystems globally. BlueNalu announced that it was expanding into the Asia-Pacific region earlier this month, and its partnership with Neom marks its regional debut.

Lab-grown proteins are becoming popular in the region. The UAE’s Switch Foods started on its new alternative protein production factory in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Industrial Zone last May. Qatari Doha Venture Capital also partnered with Eat Just on a USD 200 mn cultivated-meat facility in Qatar’s Umm Alhoul Freezone. The Oman Investment Authority (OIA) also agreed to set up a JV with MycoTech to use the natural sugar present in dates as carbon to fuel the production of mushroom-based protein.  

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