Aqua Cultured Foods creates non animal-derived calamari fries using microbial fermentation

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AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
Calamari fries

Foodtech start-up Aqua Cultured Foods has made seafood-free calamari fries using its newly developed microbial fermentation technology.

The calamari fries are Aqua Cultured Foods’ first commercial product, and should be on the market for consumers to try in the latter half of 2022.

The product is made through microbial fermentation, a non-GMO process which creates a mycoprotein, a single-cell protein grown from fungi, which the company says has a similar mouthfeel, taste and appearance to whole-muscle cut seafood.

The calamari alternative will be available in a seasoned and breaded variation.

CEO of Aqua Cultured Foods, Anne Palermo said: “We’re moving on an accelerated timeline from the R&D stage to commercialization, and now our focus will be scale-up, strategic alliances, and go-to-market partners such as restaurant chains.

“Hitting this milestone ahead of schedule is an achievement for the alt-seafood and alt-protein sectors, as well as for us as a company.”

The calamari alternative is said to have 80 calories, as well as around 15 to 20g of protein and 10-12g of fibre.

Aqua Cultured Foods also note its product contains no sodium, cholesterol or saturated fat, which makes it a healthier alternative to conventional fried calamari, which are higher in calories, sodium, saturated fats, cholesterol, and contain no fibre.

Culinary advisor to the seafood alternatives company Johnny Carino said: “As you bite in, you get an immediate crunch note that combines with the realistic, slightly chewy texture of the calamari. It looks and acts like calamari. There was no learning curve as you’d expect with a completely new product or ingredient.”

The Chicago-based company is also in the process of creating fermented shrimp, scallops, whitefish and tuna alternatives, which all have a comparable nutritional value to that of cod.

Aqua Cultured Foods says its fermentation process allows for the production of foods that have an equal level of nutritional value to fish, but that don’t harm the ocean in the same way as modern day seafood production.

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