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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Shiok Meats Acquires Cell-Based Red Meat Startup, Hints at More Such ‘Expansions’

Shiok Meats, the South-East Asian cell-based seafood pioneer, has announced that it has acquired the region’s ‘first’ cell-based red meat startup, Gaia Foods.

This marks the first ever acquisition in the global cell-cultured meat space.

Founded in 2019, Singapore-based Gaia Foods introduced a proprietary technology to produce 3D printed meat using stem cells to replicate the taste and texture of traditional meat. The company is backed by Big Idea Ventures, which is an investor in Shiok Meats also, along with some angel investors.

Shiok Meats’ first ever cultured lobster meat featured in lobster gazpacho and lobster terrine. (Image courtesy: Shiok Meats)

“The alternative protein space is evolving rapidly, and we are very excited to collaborate and integrate with Gaia Foods. With both seafood and red meat on our suite of offerings and the recent fundraise from strategic investors, we are ready to power through to commercialization. Meaningful expansions like these will continue to be one of our priorities, said Dr. Sandhya Sriram, CEO, and Co-founder of Shiok Meats, in a press statement.

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“We have long admired Shiok Meats for their mission, technology, and strong leadership,” said Dr. Vin, Co-Founder Gaia Foods. “This collaboration has all the necessary synergies that will make our respective capabilities even stronger. This couldn’t have come at a better time. We look forward to working together with Shiok Meats to further our technology and expand our business and markets”

The acquisition is in line with Shiok Meats’ expansion strategy aiming at stretching the company’s existing portfolio and entering the alternative red meat market, creating synergy and adding value to the cruelty-free industry.

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70% of its current headcount comprises scientists and technical staff who have been working on advancing the company’s R&D efforts in the last three years.

According to Dr. Ka Yi Ling, CTO & Co-founder, Shiok Meats, “Pioneering innovation is at the heart of our industry and the direction in which it is headed. We were the first to launch a cell-based crustacean prototype, while Gaia was the first to demonstrate a structured red meat prototype in South-East Asia, and that too within less than two years of being founded. These are significant milestones as far as R&D is concerned, so we are confident that our partnership is strategic for the industry.”

In November last year, Shiok Meats showcased the first ever cultured lobster meat at an exclusive tasting event held at Innovate 360, Singapore’s first food incubator.

It recently raised an undisclosed amount of investment in a bridge funding round led by Asian food industry majors Woowa Brothers Asia Holdings, CJ Cheil Jedang Corporation and Vinh Hoan Corporation. Shiok Meats’ total capital stands at US$30 million currently. The company is in the process of scaling up its R&D while also setting up a production facilitin Singapore.

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