Nomad Foods, Europe’s leading frozen food company, said Monday it is teaming up with US-based cell-cultured seafood maker BlueNalu to explore the introduction of cell-cultured seafood in Europe.

The agreement represents the first of its kind in Europe between a consumer packaged goods company and a cell-cultured seafood company, said Nomad.

The agreement includes a collaboration to conduct market research and identify consumer insights, assess regulatory requirements, and explore new business and product opportunities that would be unlocked by the introduction of cell-cultured seafood throughout Europe.

“We are at the forefront of a generational shift towards healthier, more sustainable eating and are delighted to announce our collaboration with BlueNalu," said Nomad CEO Stefan Descheemaeker.

"Their breakthrough technology in cell-cultured seafood perfectly aligns with our purpose and will enable us to continue to introduce innovative and great tasting seafood products that are good for people, good for the planet and accessible to all.”

In April, Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi and seafood giant Thai Union inked a deal with US cell-based seafood developer BlueNalu to explore the potential for the group's cell-based products in the Asian market.

In January, BlueNalu closed $60 million (€49.5 million) in debt financing, led by venture capital investors and Thai Union, among others.

The financing round was the largest-ever for a cell-based seafood company, and will be used to complete the group's first commercial pilot facility for the production of its cell-based products, starting with mahi-mahi, and moving to bluefin tuna at a later stage.

BlueNalu has attracted a string of high-profile investors in the past two years, including Nutreco, owner of aquaculture feed giant Skretting; Sumitomo, a $50 billion Japanese trading company, Korean food company Pulmuone and KBW Ventures, controlled by Saudi prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal.

A record $3.1 billion (€2.6 billion) was invested in 2020 in companies creating alternative proteins such as plant-based and cell-cultured meat, seafood and other products, according to a new report from The Good Food Institute (GFI).

Plant-based and cell-cultured seafood companies raised more than $80 million (€67.2 million) in 2020, four times the amount raised in 2019. This represents 66 percent of the capital raised by alternative seafood companies since GFI began tracking investments in 2015, the group said.

Plant-based Seafood: The Threats and Opportunities
Learn more about the growing alternative seafood sector with our comprehensive report into top plant-based and lab-grown seafood suppliers as well as the risks and opportunities associated with the sector.