Food & Life Companies operates brands such as Sushiro and Kyotaru and over 1,000 restaurants across Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and mainland China.
The agreement focuses on developing a supply-chain solution for bluefin tuna and other sushi-grade products for the multinational sushi restaurant operator in the Asia-Pacific region, where seafood consumption is highest. The companies plan to collaborate on product development and marketing as well as support of a regulatory framework to accelerate BlueNalu’s commercialisation in Japan.
BlueNalu and F&LC will focus on the belly portion of bluefin tuna, called toro, as an initial commercial product. Bluefin tuna is a prized species in Japan, where an estimated 80 percent of the global supply is consumed, and commands premium pricing for its delicious flavor and unique sensory characteristics.
“Food & Life Companies is a global leader in the sushi restaurant business, and BlueNalu is thrilled to partner with their team to continue the innovative legacy of their iconic brands,” said Lou Cooperhouse, president & CEO of BlueNalu, in a press release.
“Cell-cultured seafood is a supply-chain solution that will have the taste, texture and nutrition that consumers expect, and will not be susceptible to environmental contaminants like mercury and microplastics. By centering our initial efforts on the high-quality toro portion of bluefin tuna, we aim to demonstrate culinary excellence with the most prized portion of the most sought-after fish in the most iconic marketplace for seafood,” he added.
“With the uncertainty of natural marine resources in the future, it is important that we secure a stable supply of seafood in a more sustainable manner,” said Koichi Mizutome, president and CEO of Food & Life Companies. “We have already been promoting the use of farmed seafood as one of the ways to achieve this, but as seafood demand increases in the future, there will be increasing challenges with our global supply chain. Therefore, we are eager to incorporate BlueNalu’s cell-cultured seafood as we believe it is one of the most promising methods to help solve these issues. We look forward to the progress of this collaboration, and to the future when BlueNalu products can be used as sustainable, delicious, healthy, and reliable seafood on our menus.”
Global seafood consumption is at an all-time high and continues to increase, particularly in Asia. The United Nations projects global population and consumption growth will require 28 million tonnes of new seafood production by 2030. In addition to wild-caught and farm-raised seafood, cell-cultured seafood is seen as a third production method that can help meet that demand.
This announcement with F&LC follows additional collaborations announced earlier by BlueNalu, including agreements with Pulmuone in South Korea, Sumitomo Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation in Japan, Thai Union in Thailand and Nomad Foods in Europe. BlueNalu’s business strategy is to partner with leading multinational companies on market research, regulatory affairs, product design and development, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution, with an aim to efficiently and effectively bring BlueNalu’s branded cell-cultured seafood products to consumers worldwide.