Cultured Meat and Future Food is a short-form podcast series discussing the role of plant based food, cultivated meat and food technology. The show is focused on asking industry leaders questions for an audience with a non-scientific background. Cultured Meat and Future Food is targeted towards entrepreneurs interested in the food technology space.

Lou Cooperhouse of BlueNalu

Lou Cooperhouse is recognized as a leading global authority in food business innovation and technology commercialization, with extensive leadership experiences throughout his 35-year career in the food industry.

He is a results-driven professional, and has led cross-functional teams in a wide array of industry settings that include: multinational corporations, foodservice and retail operations, new business startups, mid-sized and family-run companies, university entrepreneurship and innovation centers, and industry trade associations.

Lou also has considerable expertise in food safety and quality assurance systems, and has provide leadership at numerous FDA and USDA-inspected operations throughout his career, and has conducted third-party audits of dozens of food companies throughout the nation as well.

Lou received a MS in Food Science and BS in Microbiology, both from Rutgers University, and has served as an Adjunct Professor at the Rutgers Business School.

This episode is sponsored by the Black & Veatch NextGen Ag Team. Learn more about Black and Veatch at

Listen to this podcast on your favorite streaming service.

Alex (00:04):

Lou, I’d like to welcome you to the future food show.

Lou (01:29):

Well, thanks for having me, Alex. I look forward to this broadcast.

Alex (01:32):

Lou, tell us about your background and when BlueNalu got started.

Lou (01:36):

Happy to do so, Alex. My background is, really, now over 35 years in the food industry and I’ve really worked in all sorts of companies, went to school, actually got my master’s in food science and undergrad in microbiology, and then joined Campbell soup and had a really great opportunity. It was very helpful Alex, to gain experience at a large corporation, very disciplined. Actually my focus was on a brand new category, so it’s interesting. Alex, I found myself in a large company, but working on a startup business and I never stopped ever since then over the 35 years. So at Campbell soup, I worked on a perishable food line that was really short shelf life. The high quality products sold in a test market in the Washington DC area, soup, salads, entrees, and desserts delivered by tuxedo drivers in a special van. So it just really put me in a really unique entrepreneurial environment within a large company. And from there on, I went to ConAgra, then I went to Nestle, a VC funded startup, doing a special process for manufacturing Sous vide products, products produced under a vacuum pasteurization, again, high quality entrees. And I was very involved with a startup there and taking that company from a small facility to a 50,000 square foot operation, and really led that whole commercialization piece. And I think you see the pattern there.

And I subsequently went on to co-found a company actually back in the mid-nineties, that was the pioneer in making products for celiac disease, diabetes, low protein diets, and a condition called dysphasia. So it’s basically a medical food company, but really providing great tasting products for people that were not candidly suffering from the food options that were available. So we worked on gluten-free products that were very much sorely missed by consumers, whether it be pastas, breads, entrees, and just a wide array of products that really met conditions or opportunities that they really missed. And then since the year 2000 Alex, I did a lot of consulting.

I also was the founding executive director at a university-based incubator program at Rutgers, really giving back a bit in my career and supporting many entrepreneurs, startups that kind of led to the launch of BlueNalu, to answer your question. I was really witnessing something totally fascinating. So I was doing so much work consulting for folks and supporting entrepreneurs and seeing so many startup companies being launched. And I saw an absolute pattern that was emerging, really driven by consumer changes as consumers were migrating from products that were consistent with earlier in my career that were more culinary driven or healthy or local or communicate other attributes. I was seeing products that really manifested sustainability and where the food became a vehicle for communicating mission align values. So sustainability kind of get manifested, as you know Alex, by plant-based foods as generation one. So actually I was working with very high profile companies in plant-based meats and in fact, impossible foods was a client of mine at Rutgers, and they actually had their U.S. Launch from the facility that I led at an incubator program in New Jersey. I was also working on plant-based cheeses for other clients and just a wide array of products. I was really witnessing this whole birth of a brand new industry and candidly Alex, I got excited by what I learned about in the early 2010, 2013 timeframe. When I learned about the advances in manufacturing animal products, without animals, I just saw that is an absolute transformative opportunity. Obviously, Mark Post is the one who had that New York Times BBC exposure about making an animal product, in that case the hamburger product as proof of concept. And I was just fascinated. I saw this, frankly, Alex as potentially the most disruptive opportunity ever in the food industry. And from that, I really started to study that category and fell in love with how this can be done with seafood and have to talk to you more about why seafood as we go forward here.

Alex (05:24):

Absolutely. And that’s a really exciting trajectory back to the company that was working on the Sous vide products. I’m excited to kind of ask you what your take on the Sous vide at home movement over the last couple of years, which has exploded, but when you were working on that project, was it using that Sous vide technology in like a large scale manufacturing setting?

Lou (05:46):

It was Alex. We actually were the first company, I believe. I know it was, globally to actually develop a continuous process for manufacturing Sous vide, so this was like 1988, that’s a longer, this was 1989, that time period. And we actually developed a continuous process for Sous vide processing. I’m fascinated that, you know, a little bit about Sous vide, we actually started the company in Sausalito, California, and then they built a facility over in Stockton, not too far away from where you’re at. And it was a fabulous experience, frankly, all these things really helped me in my career to really understand the pathway to commercialization. Our whole focus was how to do this safely because what we were doing certainly caught the eyes of the FDA and USDA because the process could result in an unsafe finished product, if not done properly, we spent an awful lot of time making sure that we could optimize quality and optimize safety and really give consumers a great tasting and that case protein product or vegetable product.

Alex (06:40):

Wow. That’s exciting. And so what are your thoughts on some of those, like at home Sous vide systems? I think Anova is one of them. There’s many others. Any thoughts on that?

Lou (06:50):

I’m really not familiar with some of those systems. I think if consumers follow that with care and read all the directions, one really needs to ensure that the product is not stored for a lengthy period of time where it elevated temperature, but certainly the quality of the product is absolutely outstanding on the Sous vide process. Again, I’m not that familiar with some of the at-home systems that are out now, but they’ve had some of those out for a bunch of years now, but it seems like they are taking off more so than ever as consumers, frankly, due to the pandemic are doing a lot more cooking at home. So I think they’re starting to explore this new technology to really enjoy the benefits of that even more so.

Alex (07:24):

Absolutely. Yeah. And all types of at-home experiments going on now. At the Rutgers entrepreneurial program, was that focus on food technology or was it just general entrepreneurship

Lou (07:36):

It was more on entrepreneurship driven by economic development and really the focus was really value added. So the primary objective was to help farmers relevant to even cell culturing technology, to really help farmers get into value at products to continue thriving. So for example, we might work with a peach farmer on value added products. What I can do is, peaches given the commodity nature of that and the competition, for example, that New Jersey might have with growers in the Southeast. And obviously distribution has really made products from California enter the East coast with great ease. So it’s really difficult for small farmers across the nation across the world to be competitive. So the opportunity that this particular innovation center at Rutgers, so it was all about, was creating value as a product so they could continue to thrive, but maybe that peach farmer might make peach salsa or peach cider or peach schnapps. For example, I just, any assortment evaluated products that could be derived from peaches and create more value and then compete and have direct access to much higher margins and make a small farm much more competitive and much more sustainable. And that certainly is something that should be thought about as we think about the transformation of our food system and the decades ahead.

Alex (08:44):

That’s interesting. And, and a lot of times these nuances within the food system are things we never even think about.

Lou (08:51):

For sure.

Alex (08:52):

So I want to ask about the origin of the name BlueNalu, and maybe you could also follow up and tell us about Eat Blue and really the movement behind it.

Lou (09:04):

Alex, as I mentioned before, I was doing some consultative work and really just fascinated by the whole category of alternative protein, which frankly will soon not be an alternative protein. It will be real protein. In some of the projections, as you know, have identified that conventional meats may in fact become unconventional by the year 2040. So we are on the front end of a total transformation of our supply chain. Absolutely. So to answer your question, I was actually doing a lot of public speaking about food trends and technologies over the past 15, 20 years. And I found myself doing a lot of case studies on all these new entrances into the field. There were some entrances in plant-based and obviously cell-based and fermentation based companies. I was also fascinated by vertical farming and so many other things that are going on in the sector. So food tech is just, I saw it. It was clearly on fire as well as some of the home delivery services so much was going on. And I specifically found myself honed in on cell base and calling it, frankly, the Holy Grail. I said, this technology is an absolute game changer for the food industry.

I found myself identifying a specific area that made so much sense to me. It was seafood given that, as a food industry veteran, I know quite a bit about seafood in that the global demand is only increasing at the expense of red meat because people do love seafood. And the problem is we have a supply chain gap that is just unrivaled. So the amount of seafood coming from the ocean has been flat for several decades. Agriculture is trying to keep up, it can’t and we have just a fundamental issue of feeding the population in the decades ahead. So there a global protein challenge that is really going to hit home in the area of seafood as demand increases and supply is diminishing. And furthermore, Alex, I saw that this is a supply chain that is not just very vulnerable because it comes from the ocean and the waters, it’s unlike land animals, which are very predictable. We can see them, we can count them. We just don’t know what we’ll be able to fish. And that supply chain, not only is it vulnerable and highly variable, but it is increasingly compromised with microplastics and toxins and pollutants.

So, I was actually in the state of Hawaii. So back to your question on the origin of the name, doing a fair amount of consulting work for the University of Hawaii and other entities in the state. And I was actually a keynote speaker at a Hawaii agricultural foundation. And I was literally talking about cell-based seafood is the Holy grail of the Holy grail. It is something that needs to be done. And here we are in Hawaii, the center of the Pacific ocean, 2,500 miles from any major land mass, we really need to do something about this. So sure enough, we were like 300 people in the audience. And one individual approached me, had a connection with venture capital and he said, you just made the greatest case to start a company. And I’ve been thinking about this category too. You just identified all strategic plans to actually go forward with that. And I said, I know, and I wasn’t really looking, Alex, to start a company, but from that point on BlueNalu was born. And the name. BlueNalu is an homage to where the company got founded. So Nalu is the Hawaiian word for wave. It’s the wave of the Moana of the ocean. And Nalu also is interestingly a street slang in Hawaiian. If you say to somebody Nalu, it’s about going with the flow, but it’s also translated as being mindful, thoughtful, conscious. And I found that to be such an appropriate word, to start this company in a Blue Nala with blue waves representing the ocean homage to Hawaii, but also about all of us as consumers need to be mindful and thoughtful about the products we eat. And that kind of is the kind of segue into. Eat Blue, which is all about, is really modeled after Go Green. So as a young boy growing up, I was part of the whole green movement about being environmentally conscious. And I came up with the concept of Eat Blue about a very symbolic way to do something very similar to Go Green about all of us should be mindful about the foods we consume, embrace sustainability and think about fish and as one chooses to consume it or not. But clearly Alex, the first step in changing behavior is really about awareness. So Eat Blue is really about awareness. And in this case, it’s specifically targeted at the UN sustainable development goal, number 14, life below water. And it’s really about paying respect to fish and the concepts of sustainability and really embracing sustainable practices. Today, Cell-based seafood is not available. Plant-based seafood is barely available, but for those who do consume seafood, please embrace sustainable practices and be thoughtful about the products that you purchase and consume.

Alex (13:27):

That is definitely a great story. And it makes me think about the name very differently. Now that attendee that came up to you after the conference, did that person become a co-founder?

Lou (13:38):

He did. So that person became a co-founder also and connected us with our first venture capital, which was from New Crop Capital. So, New Crop Capital also came in at the very beginning of the company and we all got together and I put together the business strategy for the company. We identified another co-founder. We decided to launch in San Diego, all of us were living in different places, but we actually selected San Diego because of the tremendous heritage San Diego has in the seafood industry, primarily tuna, but also because it is an absolute industry cluster for some of the exact technologies that are critical for our success. So as a person who worked very much in economic development in New Jersey, I recognize a lot about the workforce and the workforce in the San Diego area has tremendous expertise in bioengineering cell biology, tissue, culture, biopharma processing, food innovation. So it was this really an extraordinary place to get the company started and actually true to my roots, Alex, I actually started the company and incubator out here that was a biotech incubator, and that really allowed us to quickly get started and we were off and running back in, uh, early 2018.

Alex (14:43):

That is great. A really good founder’s story. And along with that, it’s a good transition into some of the amazing news. We’ve heard the recent fundraising round. So maybe you could tell us a little bit about this fundraising round, why it’s important for the industry as a whole and how your team will now approach growth.

Lou (15:02):

Yeah, thanks. Obviously we do have some recent news. I mentioned the company’s founding, we raised four and a half million dollars in a seed round back in early 2018. Then we raised $20 million in A round that was in 2019, 2020, mostly in 2019 and the fall close out early in 2020, just over a year ago with that $20 million A round, we realized that was going to be the catalyst to really start working on our commercialization strategy. And then we put forward a plan. My whole strategy as a CEO of the company is really to think very holistically about all of the requirements for success. So the biology of the engineering, the operations, the regulatory, the market development, all in parallel. And that’s really been, I would argue the key to our success thus far is to really be again, very thoughtful back to Nalu about what does it take to be successful in this space, you know, having the end in mind. So that next phase for us, Alex was to, we had developed the fundamentals that demonstrated that we were able to migrate to the next step. So I put in place this five phase growth strategy where each phase is a stage gate process that has particular milestones and enables a level of success. The fifth phase is a profitable factory, which is the end in mind. By no means, are we there yet? And this whole industry is not even close to that yet, but what we’re at is what I call phase three. That middle point, very important point in the phase three is a place that allows a facility that allows us to enter commerce for the first time. So it is a small scale food processing facility. It’s a pilot facility that operates under GMP, FDA, best practices for manufacturing, but just provides very small scale production. So interestingly, Alex, it is a bit like the food innovation center I built at Rutgers. So it’s basically that innovation center in mind, small scale factory allows you to launch products, demonstrate market acceptance in a regulatory approved facility. That being said, we realized that the funding required to build out the facility and give us the operating cash was about $60 million. That would take us to the milestones of getting this facility completed, getting through all the processes required for regulatory clearance and entering the market. So sure enough, we raised $60 million in a financing round that we just announced a month or two ago, and it happened very quickly and we’re very pleased that for the third time we were oversubscribed in our financing and this $60 million will allow us to build out this facility and enter commerce sometime over the next 12 months or so. So we’re very excited, Alex. by that accomplishment. And also that we’ve been able to bring in a number of strategic investors along the way. So earlier in our, A round, we brought on Nutreco from Netherlands, Griffith Foods from U.S., helping us on the supply chain side and then Sumitomo from Japan and this recent financing Thai Union joined us as well. So we are working collaboratively with supply chain partners and with strategic partners that could really help us really reduce our costs of goods and also plant the seeds for entry markets globally.

Alex (18:08):

And will this pilot facility be in San Diego?

Lou (18:11):

Absolutely. Yeah, it’s a, it’s roughly 40,000 square feet and it’s currently being constructed as we speak. So it’s an existing building that we are repurposing to be the first cell based seafood pilot facility here in United States.

Alex (18:23):

That’s exciting. And to track back BlueNalu started, did you say 2018?

Lou (18:29):

The presentation I talked about in Hawaii happened in the early fall of 2017 and then as many companies do, went in stealth mode, develop a strategy. And then our funding happened in the spring of 2018 and literally June of 2018, when we brought on our first team members and sought operation in the incubator facility in San Diego. So we’re really approaching our third year and operations.

Alex (18:52):

That really puts a big smile on my face because we really need that type of startup growth when we are addressing these challenges. And we’re talking about Go Green, Eat Blue, the faster we move the better. And that’s just really exciting to hear. Can you imagine, I want to throw this out there? I know the focus is on seafood. Can you imagine the technologies being used at BlueNalu will in the future be applied to applications outside of seafood, other types of protein,

Lou (19:23):

Yeah, Alex, this whole category. There’s so much knowledge being developed by all of us collectively around the globe companies. We’re all developing stable cell lines. In our case, we began the company with developing stable cell lines of fish species that have never been done before. So there’s so much intellectual property being developed here, but you’re absolutely right. Alex, the applications are really, we actually created an internal think tank. And funny, you mentioned it called Blue Nalo innovations. That’s really to think outside of the box and different kind of markets and opportunities that might exist for our technology, whether that’s in the biology area or the engineering area or the marketing area, but you’re absolutely right, Alex. There’s a tremendous amount of opportunities outside of our core area that I think will be uncovered in the coming years,

Alex (20:09):

Given that there’s a facility in development today, what have you learned from your experiences in the corporate food world that could be applied to really scaling cell-based fish? And I want to famously refer to Paul Shapiro’s Business For Good Podcast, where you mentioned a metric of producing scale of creating a hundred chicken nuggets per minute. Is that something we’ll see, maybe not at the pilot scale, but in the future and what kind of experiences can you apply to scaling that type of growth?

Lou (20:40):

I think what BlueNalu got started my whole approach. And frankly, I realized Alex, I was one of the few founders, the world that actually came from the food industry. Many of the founders in this business come from biotech or biopharma. And as a food industry person, my first focus was on culinary and really making great tasting products and recognizing how the food industry works and the food industry when it comes to seafood, which is a very fragmented market, really needs to be supported with a distribution model.

So, I really began thinking about this Alex, which I would encourage any entrepreneur to think about is, what does success look like? Success at all levels. It’s not just another success that’s associated with cost of goods, but there’s a success that I’m thinking about, you know, how many factories can be in place that can really result in significant market penetration around the world in a highly fragmented market. So back to that earlier reference, I made of a five phase growth strategy. Where phase five I mean, if you will, becomes a cookie cutter, but it’s a large-scale factory that can be replicated across the world, but customize based on the market conditions. So if you think about seafood, people are used to eating seafood, That’s clearly more locally available. Obviously what people eat in Europe, people eat in Asia, people in the United States are extremely different. There might be some common species that we might consume, but there’s an awful lot of local products around the world. Our whole focus was what is our scale success look like? So I guess to answer your question, just really developing a strategy that would enable factories to be created globally.

So literally back in 2018, shortly after the company got founded, one of the first things I did is I wanted to put together a design for large scale factory, even though we hadn’t even had some of the core elements figured out, but just to really understand what will be the challenges of large scale production and how do we start from the beginning, knowing what challenges we will face in the future to make a very scalable business from the outset. And I just have to tell you, Alex, that has been so beneficial to us having the end in mind strategy from the very beginning that has this whole industry has never been done before. So there will naturally be lots of pivots along the way, things that work and don’t work, but having the end in mind and knowing what success looks like really helps keep everybody focused on the North Star there. And that’s really been key to, I would say our ability to get, as far as we have thus far is having that success model in our minds and then having the organization that can really accomplish those goals. So at the end of the day, it’s all about the team with the right discipline, that the right entrepreneur mindset that recognizes that success is what looks like this. And to really have many pathways that will end up in success, but identify what those pathways are early on.

Alex (23:13):

From an engineering and scale standpoint. Do you see that in the future using this model, we would be able to meet current demand of seafood consumption.

Lou (23:24):

That’s certainly our hope, Alex. I think the market today is north of $200 billion. That’s what the estimate is on seafood. It would take so many factories and the market size is only increasing significantly in the years ahead. So if all of the BlueNalu did was fill the gap of continued growth and take some stress off oceans, that would be an extraordinary success. Our whole approach, Alex, is to really create a third supply chain solution, today there’s wild-caught and farm race. Now there is cell cultured seafood, cell-based seafood as a new third option to really take the stress off the ocean. And that’s really our strategy. We certainly hope to make a dent in certain species around the world, but it’s such a fragmented marketplace and it’s so global in nature. So at a very minimum, we need this third supply chain source to really meet the needs of humans in the coming decades.

Alex (24:16):

We see the $200 billion seafood industry trillion dollar food industry in general. Why are we not seeing more investment in the space? Is it just the early days or any thoughts on what we’ll need to actually make a shift, not just in seafood, but in cell-based technologies everywhere. Will there be a lot more investment required to amplify this industry?

Lou (24:41):

Clearly there will be a lot more investment. Alex. I think we are in the early days, my interpretation is this whole category began with terrestrial animal products, meat and poultry specifically because of that’s where the technology was known. And as I mentioned, a lot of the technologies, some of them came from university researchers with a biopharma background that had worked on mammalian cell culture technology, and they just applied that towards another species that enable a proof of concept to occur. You know, my whole approach Alex was the reality that there wasn’t any science developed in propagating cell lines from fish species except for a few aquarium fish. So it was really nonexistent for the most part. And it is a challenge, frankly, but the real opportunity was that seafood is the market that really has the greatest challenge in front of it. Again with that big supply chain gap and the compromise with microplastics and pollutants and so forth, that will hopefully not, but will potentially get much worse in the future. As our world becomes sadly more polluted and species become less and less available. So we need to do something. So I was really driven by the supply chain gap and supporting personal health and consumer concerns around sustainability, Now targeting seafood. The reason we haven’t seen that much success. Again, it began on the million side, but I think a lot of people are a little frightened by the seafood sector because it is so fragmented. And frankly, there are so many species to work on. In the poultry industry. There’s something called a chicken breast or chicken thigh, but it’s a relatively straightforward industry. And there’s a variety of well-understood products that are made from something called chicken or Turkey or duck. And the beef industry there’s hamburgers and various cuts of steaks and so forth that people are very familiar with. But seafood there’s fin fish, crustaceans, there’s Molluscs, there’s all sorts of species that people consume. There’s hundreds and hundreds. It’s a fragmented supply chain. Except for canned tuna, that’s one species and one form of processing. Can you probably think of a couple of brand names or maybe three that are associated with that slice of a category, but what about all the other species that are out there? Food service or retail? It’s hard to think of any of those brand names that are associated with them. So we saw that as an opportunity to really, yes it is a fragmented marketplace, but that’s why my strategy from the beginning was to put in place strategic partners around the globe that did have a local familiarity with the consumers and the local supply chain can really help us over time to create those inroads that would enable as rapid as possible commercialization and market acceptance in nations around the world. And we were very focused on those nations that have the highest per capita seafood consumption, where we can make the greatest potential difference.

Alex (27:17):

Great. And I want to just track back to the team a little bit. How big is the team at BlueNalu right now?

Lou (27:25):

Just about 35 full-time employees right now, Alex. And we also, I’m a big fan if you will, a variable labor. So we have a fair amount of consultants and contractors and subject matter experts involved. So it’s the 35 full-time employees, but there’s another couple of dozen organizations that are supporting us in all sorts of ways to really help us celebrate our pathway with some great subject matter expertise, just a fabulous team we have in San Diego, but also just a great team of experts that are supporting us on the periphery as well.

Alex (27:57):

What I really appreciate is that you mentioned that your team had a goal of getting to this phase three and eventually phase five, really from the early days. When did you start hiring someone that does focus on facilities development?

New Speaker (28:13):

Yeah, I mean, that was initially me, frankly, because I do have a strong background in operations. My roots are in R&D and really commercializing factories has been something I’ve done throughout my career. So it’s really more of the commercialization strategy about putting in place the building blocks that creates the confidence to go to the next step, to the next steps, the next step, and in this case, So we have brought on a number of third parties to support us with engineering design, construction architects. We’re actually hiring our operations team over the coming months, but thus far we have just a tremendous R&D and engineering team that has really allowed us to get through phase zero and into phase one and two. And that phase three facility is something that again is a big milestone and it will be another learning experience, but that phase three facility one year from now will give us the confidence to have figured out at a scale of maybe two to 500 pounds per week. Not a huge amount of volume, but quite significant and today’s standards and give us confidence to then move to the next step. But we still have two more to go after that. But again, we think that this is a really critical mid-step because we will have accomplished in our phase three facility, all the operating procedures protocols, not only are we learning on the engineering side, the commercialization side, driving our cost of goods down with raw materials, bringing in all the appropriate raw material specifications that meet the requirements of the FDA. So this is an extraordinary learning period that we’re in right now, an evolution by having a small factory. This is the hardest part from here on, it becomes less complex for sure, to migrate to phase four and phase five because now we have all the operating principles in place. And then it becomes a matter of really identifying more automation and capacity that enables the facility to really demonstrate great profitability. And we feel very confident that we can be very profitable in our first factory based on this process. And frankly, Alex it’s also because we are working on finfish at the value added form back to that earlier comment value added. So we were working on like the filet category, not a ground and form product, very important differentiator for BlueNalu. So we are in a price point area, if you will, as I like to say we are at the ribeye steak equivalent or sirloin steak in some cases of price point. So our ability to get to price parody is a whole lot easier because we are not working on ground and products. As some others are in hamburger is also ground and form product versus a steak. So that enables our situation to be arguably profitable much sooner than companies that are focusing on ground and form product.

Alex (30:48):

There’s a prompt from X-Prize for developing cell-based. I think fish is one of the prompt categories. Is that something your team might be participating in?

Lou (30:58):

It is Alex. It is something we’re certainly very excited by and really applaud X-Prize for making this the focus and helping to drive entrance into the category and establish collaborations and partnerships. But we’re certainly planning to participate in the X-Prize.

Alex (31:12):

As we wrap up, I want to ask you what’s missing from the industry? What advice do you have for those interested in research working in, or starting a company in the, and I’ll use the term cellular aquaculture space?

Lou (31:26):

Yeah, that term was probably something that I know I used early on myself, but we’re actually increasing, leading towards a cell cultured or even cell based, based on some research that we’ve sponsored in this space. And we’re starting to see that what’s missing really evolve. We’re seeing companies like BlueNalu and many others around the world that are focused on the finished product, but we’re starting to see now finished product being that seafood or that ground meat or whatever it might be that will be served to consumers. I’ll call that kind of the middle of the value chain. On the front end. The value chain is all the supply chain partners. So we’re starting to see new companies emerge on the raw material side, a much more commitment towards reducing the cost of goods. So we’re seeing large companies and startups having focused efforts to really support this industry because they realized there’s a brand new industry that is emerging. So we’re seeing very large companies, whether in enzymes or amino acids or growth factors, scaffolding, or other technologies, we’re seeing all sorts of companies working on the raw material, if you will supply chain engineering solution piece. And we’re also seeing strategic partners entrance coming in on the back end of the process. So again, we’re in the middle of that value chain on the backend, are people in engineering, operations, marketing distribution, that’s, what’s now missing from this industry. The exciting organizations like BlueNalu in the middle that are creating the finished products, need the support on the front and the back end, the value chain of the supply chain partners and the distribution partners that could really help us rapidly get to market and serve as a catalyst to drive the cost down at the same time. So those companies that we’re starting to see a lot more activity, but they’re certainly still missing to get much more of that to really help us all be successful.

Alex (33:06):

You can get in touch with Lou on LinkedIn and learn more about BlueNalu at Lou, do you have any last insights or announcements for our listeners today?

Lou (33:36):

First, Alex, thank you so much for all that you do for this industry and, uh, for all of your listeners for all of your support as well. Really No, no last comments, except I think maybe my last comment will be kind of my first one. It’s really about culinary. I think to really have consumers migrate towards any kind of alternative protein product. I think there’s a really good article in the New Republic recently that you might’ve seen that talks about what it will take for consumers to shift during the coming years. And it’s all about people who don’t want to sacrifice anything unless the quality and the taste and the texture are there. And that’s really been our focus at BlueNalu is this is about making great tasting products. It’s hard to motivate some people as much as we might want them to eat blue. I think if we have them think about Eat Blue, but also that there’d be no tradeoffs and the product is driven by great tastes and quality and culinary. I think we can clearly have hopefully up to a hundred percent of the people migrate towards cell-based versus conventional seafood meat or poultry products in the future that tastes great. We’ll capture the entire audience, definitely in future.

Alex (34:26):

I’m looking forward to Luke. Thank you so much for being with us today and sharing your insight on the Future Food Show.

Lou (34:34):

Thank you, Alex.

Alex (34:35):

This is your host Alex and we look forward to being with you on our next episode

This transcript was generated by an automated service. Special thanks to Boaz Edinger for assisting with the transcription for this episode.