by James Davey
LONDON, Sep 13 (Reuters) – Birds Eye, Europe’s largest frozen food group and fish stick maker, partnered with US company BlueNalu to develop seafood grown from cells in a laboratory, rather than being fish in the oceans.
Nomad Foods, which also owns the Findus, Iglo, La Cocinera and Green Cuisine brands, told Reuters on Monday that its aim is to market seafood from cell cultures to help meet growing demand and support efforts to safeguard the long-term sustainability of the planet’s fish stocks.
Through the alliance, Nomad and BlueNalu will collaborate on market research and consumer insight, assess what it takes to gain regulatory approval, and explore new opportunities in European markets.
Europe is the world’s largest importer of seafood and its citizens consume more than three times what they produce, according to the European Union’s Blue Economy Report.
“The importance of sustainability has never been more apparent, and the role of technology in meeting these needs is accelerating,” said Nomad Foods CEO Stéfan Descheemaeker.
The process developed by BlueNalu, which is based in San Diego, California, consists of isolating the living cells of the muscles from the fat and connective tissue of the fish and giving them the nutrition and care they need to multiply.
They are then portion shaped using standard food industry practices, without genetic modification.
Nomad, which operates and manufactures in 14 markets in Europe, is the world’s largest buyer of sustainable wild fish.