Consumers are increasingly interested in replacing protein and meat substitutes, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars to companies trying to grow or replace beef or chicken, but few companies are turning their attention to developing seafood. alternatives.
Now Shiok Meats is seeking to change this. The company has raised pre-seed financing from investors such as AIM Partners, Boom Capital and Bryan Bettencourt and is now part of a recent crowd submitted next week. Y Combinator .
Co-founders Sandiya Shriram and Ka Yi Ling are both stem cell scientists working in Singapore's science, technology and research institutions, and they decided to leave their relaxed government positions on the fast track of entrepreneurship.
These two individuals have set a goal to create a shrimp substitute that is common in most grocery store freezers – and shrimp substitutes for dumplings.
The global seafood market is huge, but especially in Asia and Southeast Asia, crustaceans are an important part of the diet. According to a 2015 study by the United Nations only Chinese consumers can consume about 3.6 million tons of crustaceans.
Shrimp farming is also a very dirty thing. The industry continues to be criticized for its poor working conditions, unsanitary farms and incidental environmental damage. The heavy report from the Associated Press reveals the modern slavery incident in the Thai seafood industry.
"We chose to start with shrimp because it is easier to handle than crabs and lobsters," Shriram said. But the company will expand its products to those high-end crustaceans over time.
Now, the focus is on shrimp. The company's early tests proved to be successful, and the company estimates it can make about a kilogram of shrimp for about $5,000.
While this may sound expensive, it is still far below the many meat companies grown in the lab waiting to produce alternative beef.
"Compared with other clean meat companies, we are still relatively low, and the prices of these companies are still hundreds of thousands of dollars," Ling said.
The company hopes to bring its first product to market in the next three to five years, initially targeting the Asia Pacific region.
This means initially selling them to their home market in Singapore and expanding to Hong Kong, India and ultimately Australia.