Wanda Fish has combined cell culture and a plant-based structure to create its bluefin tuna toro sashimi.

Food tech firm unveils combined cell-grown and plant-based tuna fillet


Cell-based-seafood maker Wanda Fish has unveiled a prototype cultivated bluefin tuna toro sashimi.

The Israeli company says the 3D fillet combines the cellular mass of muscle and fat created from the bluefin tuna’s own cells, developed together with a plant-based matrix.

Traditionally, raw toro sashimi is composed of the underbelly of the fish. It has the highest fat content, with especially high omega-3 levels, giving it a unique buttery sensation and making it the most tender and desired meat of the fish.

Wanda Fish says its cell-cultivated sashimi possesses the same sensory features of wild-sourced toro sashimi and has comparable nutritional richness, especially protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

“A key focus in the creation of our product was achieving the same level of fat marbling as real bluefin toro sashimi to create the same look and mouthfeel,” said Wanda Fish co-founder and chief executive Daphna Heffetz.

Wanda Fish set out to achieve the same level of fat marbling as real bluefin toro sashimi.

“Reaching this milestone demonstrates Wanda Fish’s ability to bring to market a whole-cut bluefin tuna toro fillet without harming the ocean or diminishing the population of wild fish. The product is sustainable, and of course free of microplastics, mercury, and other chemical toxins all-too-commonly found in wild catch.”

Toro sashimi can cost US $100 per serving, and the high price of the fish can make Wanda Fish’s product competitive. The manufacturing process employs a rapid, low-cost, and readily scalable production method, says Wanda Fish, which netted US $7.1 million from Dutch seafood investor AquaSpark and others in a funding round last October.

Wanda Fish's cell-grown/plant-based bluefish tuna used in sushi.

“Cultivated bluefin tuna is one of those rare food products that makes good business sense,” said Yaron Sfadyah, vice president of business development and marketing for Wanda Fish.

High demand fish

“It (real bluefin toro) is in high demand, with limited alternatives that match the taste and texture of the wild fish, and at an ideal price point and distribution model.

“Alternative protein companies often contend with high manufacturing costs, coupled with the low price of animal-based products. It is a completely different story for cultivated bluefin tuna.”

Heffetz added: “Our scalable platform for producing this premium product raises its potential to reach price parity with traditionally raised bluefins, [and will] speed its journey to the marketplace and maximise profit margins.”

The start-up will first introduce its tuna in the high-end food service sector, with a focus on Japanese cuisine, where sushi and sashimi are traditional features. “Our focus on bluefin tuna as our first product was driven by market needs rather than technology driven,” added Heffetz.