CHICAGO, Ill. and ZURICH – November 16, 2021 – Food tech startup Aqua Cultured Foods announced today it has signed a Proof of Concept (PoC) with Migros, Switzerland’s largest retailer, to advance the development of its seafood alternatives with a realistic taste and texture.
The collaboration includes assessing Swiss consumer acceptance of Aqua’s fermentation-derived sea food alternatives and exploring new business opportunities in Switzerland.
Aqua uses microbial fermentation to ‘grow’ protein, and is developing the world’s first whole-muscle cut, sushi-quality filets of tuna and whitefish, as well as shrimp and calamari alternatives, based on its novel fermentation technology.
Europeans in EU member states consume 27 kg (nearly 60 pounds) of seafood per person, with imports far exceeding domestic supply. Nearly one-quarter of the world’s catch is imported to Europe, although it represents less than ten percent of the world’s population.
“The worldwide demand for seafood is exceeding the ocean’s capacity, and we appreciate that Migros wants to be part of the solution,” said Aqua chief growth officer Brittany Chibe. “Interest in our alternative seafood is coming from Europe, North America and Asia, because the need for more sustainable proteins is increasing as the climate crisis worsens and population grows.”
“Aqua Cultured Foods has presented some exciting technology and products that we at Migros believe can revolutionize the seafood category throughout the food industry,” said (Migros contact). “The Swiss market welcomes food tech, and we are ready to introduce the region to the future of alternative proteins.”
Aqua was accepted into Kickstart 2021, a Swiss startup incubator for high-growth tech innovation. In the past six years, Kickstart has supported more than 200 startups and facilitated more than 200 deals in more than 40 countries, raising more than 1.6 billion USD in investments and working with European partners including Migros and Coop.
“Kickstart 2021 participants are tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time, and a collaboration like this between Migros and Aqua Cultured Foods is proof that meaningful commercial partnerships can create social benefit,” said Katka Letzing, co-founder and CEO, Kickstart Innovation. “Large companies are increasingly interested in cooperating with high-growth start-ups and developing together in Switzerland.”
Aqua’s fermentation methods do not use any animal inputs, genetic altering or modification and can be marketed as non-GMO. Per serving, products will contain 18-20 grams of protein, 10-12 grams of fiber and no sodium, saturated fat or cholesterol, and Omega-3s. These nutritional values are similar to cod, which contains 18 grams of protein, .7 grams of fat, nearly 43 mg cholesterol, 54 mg of sodium, and no fiber.
Aqua is currently scaling production and building infrastructure to release commercial products with strategic partners in 2022.
One of the largest retailers in the world, Migros is Switzerland’s largest retailer, largest grocery chain, and largest employer. Migros is organized as a cooperative, with around two million Swiss member/shopper/owners. It owns 90 subsidiaries that produce staple foods sold in stores; services such as mobile telecom, banking, travel, gas stations and convenience stores, bookstores, furniture stores, garden and hardware stores; and educational and cultural opportunities such as language schools. For more information visit https://www.migros.ch.
Kickstart is one of Europe’s largest zero equity, multi-corporate ecosystem innovation platforms that runs a scale-up program for high-growth startups with the goal to accelerate deep tech innovation in Switzerland. Science and engineering-driven technologies have the potential to solve humanity’s biggest challenges. They require unprecedented collaboration between established organizations and the most audacious entrepreneurs out there. Kickstart builds bridges and brings various organizations such as startups, corporates, cities, foundations and universities together. Each year, Kickstart brings up to 100 entrepreneurs to Switzerland to collaborate with key players for proofs of concept, pilot projects and other innovation partnerships. Additionally, through the intrapreneurship program Kickstart helps established organizations accelerate internal innovation.
About Aqua Cultured Foods
Aqua Cultured Foods is an innovative food technology startup developing the world’s first whole-muscle cut seafood alternatives created through microbial fermentation. Its novel technology produces a sustainable, complete protein source using only a fraction of the resources required by traditional aquaculture. As an R&D company with a focus on product commercialization, Aqua Cultured Foods occupies a unique position in the burgeoning alt-seafood market as well as within the fermentation industry. The company’s mission is to mitigate global challenges such as overfishing, climate change and feeding the world’s expanding population with delicious, nutrient-rich foods. For more information visit https://www.aquaculturedfoods.