This company just made the world’s first unagi from lab-grown eel


Israeli startup Forsea Foods has reportedly created a working proof-of-concept for the world’s first unagi made from cell-cultured eels, which it plans to release next year.

What it's like: The lab-grown eel meat, prepared by vegan restaurant Saido’s executive chef Katsumi Kusumoto, has the same tenderness, texture and flavor as the real seafood, Forsea Foods claimed in a press release on Jan. 22. The company said it does not contain antibiotics, hormones or ocean pollutants.

How they made it: Forsea used organoid technology that crafted microtissues composed of fat and muscles using a 3D printer. The company’s method, which mimics the natural process of cell formation, was simplified without the need for scaffold support.

What they’re saying: Roee Nir, CEO and co-founder of Forsea, marked the achievement as a milestone for the company’s effort to deliver cultured seafood products without “putting further strain on aquatic life." Kusomoto shared a similar sentiment in his statement, noting how it was thrilling to join forces with the company in “working together to deliver the traditional unagi indulgence with a clear eco-conscience."

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Why it matters: Eels have been on the red list of endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) since 2018. Due to this dwindling population, the demand for and price of the fish have soared, Nir said in 2022.

What's next: Forsea is looking to launch its product in Japan and across Asia in 2025, followed potentially by the European and U.S. markets. To expedite the release, the company has also expanded its operation by forming new engineering and food application departments and appointing a business development manager in Japan.

Last month, Israeli cultivated meat company Steakholder Foods unveiled the world’s first vegan 3D-printed eel.

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