By the end of 2022, South Korean startup SeaWith is planning to bring cell-based meat to Korean restaurants. The company has already developed its own seaweed-based cell-culturing medium and scaffolds. It is now focussing on scaling up the production before it unveils its final cultivated meat products at a pilot restaurant in Korea.
SeaWith was founded by Heejae Lee. (CTO) and Joonho Keum (CEO) in 2019 while they were studying at the Daegu Gyeoongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST). It is a homegrown food tech company that aims to revolutionize the country’s protein production.
There are other alternate meat companies in the market that focus on providing plant-based meat. Players like Pulmone and Unlimeat are making plant-based meat without any animal components. SeaWith, on the other hand, aims to make it with real animal meat – but without the animals!
SeaWith uses cellular agriculture to culture slaughter-free steaks and hopes to convince even the die-hard meat-lovers to not go for the conventional farmed counterparts.
The company aims to disrupt the livestock industry and reduce its overall environmental footprint. It wants to focus on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, and lower the usage of limited planetary resources like water and land.
Most people don’t like the plant-based meat so SeaWith solves that problem at least. But, the cultivation of protein at a mass consumer production level will be expensive.
At present, the company is focusing on making its own materials for cell-based meat production. It includes the scaffolds, cells, and culture media. Using seaweed as media has made their processes cost-effective and they are planning to keep working on lowering the production cost as they scale up the production.
Looking Forward To In Future
The Korean startup has setup a timeline of commercialization by the end of 2022. SeaWith aims to present their first cell-based meats to consumers in a pilot restaurant if they are able take care of the regulatory hurdles.
If they are able to adhere to the timeline, SeaWith will be the first company in South Korea to offer cultivated meat to diners. At present, Eat Just, a San Francisco-based company, has gained approval from Singapore authorities to sell their cultured chicken on the market (in December 2020).
SeaWith is backed by South Korean early-stage tech startup investors Bluepoint Partners and Enlight Ventures (₩500 million (approx. US$450,000)). It is also handpicked to join Tech Incubator Program for Startups (TIPS) by the government.