Wanda Fish Unveils its First Cultivated Bluefin Tuna Product: Toro Sashimi

Israeli cultivated seafood startup Wanda Fish announces that it has successfully developed its first cultivated bluefin tuna prototype: toro sashimi.

Wanda Fish claims that its whole cut, crafted from the muscle and fat cells of bluefin tuna, offers the same sensory features and a comparable protein and omega-3 fatty acids ratio to the wild fish’s fatty underbelly (called toro in Japanese gastronomy). The company says it enlisted skilled chefs to demonstrate the culinary possibilities of its cultivated bluefin tuna as an alternative to raw toro in sashimi.

“Our prototype is unique in the cultivated food industry”

Daphna Heffetz, co-founder and CEO of Wanda Fish, shares, “A key focus in the creation of our product was achieving the same level of fat marbling as real Bluefin toro sashimi to create the same look and mouthfeel.”

Malkiel Cohen, VP of R&D for Wanda Fish, comments: “Our prototype is unique in the cultivated food industry, as there is no cooking or panning of the product.”

Cultivated bluefin tuna
Image credit Noam Preisman

The secret is fat formation

Founded in 2021 by biotechnology expert Daphna Heffetz and The Kitchen Hub, Wanda Fish has established a proprietary GMO-free platform to produce cell-based fish of various species, starting with the overfished bluefin tuna. To date, the company has raised $10 million, including a $7 million to scale the production of its first product. 

Wand Fish explains it has developed a patent-pending technology to induce native fat formation in bluefin tuna cells to provide the original velvety texture, unique rich flavor, and essential nutrients to its cultivated fish.

Following cell growth, a downstream manufacturing process employs a rapid, low-cost, and readily scalable production method to achieve a whole cut. Wanda Fish calls it a “cell-cultivated adaptation of the 3D filet,” which combines the cellular mass of muscle and fat in a plant-based matrix.

“Using multiple bluefin tuna cells to create both muscle and fat and our plant-based 3D design, we capture the essence of a raw fish fillet without preservatives, artificial additives, or GMOs,” Cohen adds.

Wanda Fish announces that it has successfully developed a cultivated bluefin tuna prototype: toro sashimi.
© Noam Preisman

Better fish

According to Heffetz, the company’s scalable platform has the potential to produce a high quality product at price parity with farmed tuna. This efficiency would expedite the product’s entry into the marketplace.

Since toro is a premium-priced, sought-after cut used by chefs for sashimi and sushi globally, the startup is targeting high-end restaurants, focusing on Japanese cuisine to introduce its sustainable and free-from mercury alternative.

Heffetz adds, “Reaching this milestone demonstrates Wanda Fish’s ability to bring to market a whole-cut bluefin tuna toro filet without harming the ocean or diminishing the population of wild fish. The product is sustainable, and of course free of microplastics, mercury, and other chemical toxins all-too-commonly found in wild catch.”

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