It looks like seafood, but it’s not. Chicago-based Aqua Cultured Foods explores the future of sustainable seafood through fungi and has developed the first whole-muscle cut sushi-quality seafood alternatives using microbial fermentation, thus mimicking the taste and texture of seafood.
They start with widely available, affordable, unprocessed organic matter and add a nutrient rich solution to “feed” and nurture the microbes. They then introduce a strain of fungi to begin the transformation. By controlling environmental factors like heat, humidity and moisture – and nailing the formula – the end result is a whole protein with a realistic texture and taste to traditional seafood.
They’ve developed formulas for tuna, whitefish, squid and shrimp, and can make calamari, scallops, poke and filets of tuna and whitefish with its fungi-based platform. They also produce fungi-based minced seafood fillings for applications such as dumplings, ravioli, and sushi rolls.
Unlike animal seafood which are linked to problems from overfishing to heavy metal contaminants, pollution, microplastics, antibiotics, PCBs, fraud, mislabeling, and illegal labor practices, Aqua’s products contain none of that. CEO Anne Palermo states:
“The supply of available fish in the ocean is dwindling such that the cost of some of these wild caught species is doubling every year and supplies are not consistent. How do they put a product on their menu if they don’t know if they’re going to have it from one month to the next? We can provide consistent products at a price enabling them to meet their margins.”
Other information from their process are:
- No genetic altering, 100% GMO free
- No use of animal derived inputs or ingredients.
Check them out:
📸 Aqua Cultured Foods