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Singapore's Shiok Meats aims to become first to bring lab-grown shrimp to diners

By Ramla Soni

Shiok, which means very good in local slang, grows minced meat by extracting a sample of cells from shrimp

Singapore-based start-up, Shiok Meats is aiming to become the first company in the world to bring laboratory-grown shrimp to diners’ plates.

Demand for meat substitutes is accelerating, as consumer concerns about health, animal welfare and the environment increase.

Plant-based meat alternatives are increasingly featuring on supermarket shelves and restaurant menus, but so-called 'clean meat', which is genuine meat grown from cells outside the animal, is still not too well known.

More than two dozen firms are testing lab-grown fish, beef and chicken, hoping to break into the alternative meat market, which Barclays estimates could be worth $140 billion (£107.5 billion) by 2029.

Shiok, which means very good in local slang, grows minced meat by extracting a sample of cells from shrimp. The cells are fed with nutrients in a solution and kept at a temperature of 28C (82 degrees Fahrenheit), which helps them multiply.

The stem cells become meat in four to six weeks.

One kilogram of lab-grown shrimp meat now costs $5,000, says CEO Sandhya Sriram. This equates to a single pork and shrimp dumpling typically eaten in a dim sum meal costing as much as $300, using Shiok’s shrimp.

Shiok is backed by Henry Soesanto, chief executive of Philippines’ Monde Nissin Corp, which owns British meat substitute firm Quorn. It wants to raise $5 million to fund a pilot plant in Singapore to sell to restaurants and food suppliers.

FURTHER READING: Breakthrough in race to deliver credible lab-grown meat

FURTHER READING: Beyond Meat stock price: will its shares make a comeback?

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