On the final day of his recent business trip to California, your author found himself eating sushi-grade salmon at 9 o’clock in the morning. This, however, was no ordinary salmon. It was an early iteration of cellular salmon, grown in a lab just feet away from where he sampled it. Wildtype, the producer of said products, describes what it is doing as “seafood without the sea.”

During time with the co-founder and Chief Executive of the business, it became clear that Wildtype is not trying to challenge the major incumbent seafood producers. Rather, its purpose is to offer a “clean and accessible” product that complements existing offerings and helps solve the protein shortfall the world will increasingly have to deal with amidst population growth and shrinking available natural resources. Wildtype believes that its product will have natural appeal given it contains zero contaminants, mercury or micro-plastics (in contrast to sea-nurtured salmon) and yet comparable levels of Omega-3 and other nutrients.

Even with these advantages, Wildtype recognises that “we have a lot to do” in terms of convincing consumers regarding the cellular narrative. There is a natural fear of the unknown. For your author, there were zero qualms about sampling the product. As the pictures attest, Wildtype’s salmon looks comparable to rival offerings. He sampled several dishes including a tiradito and a sushi roll (pictured left and right respectively). The former comprised apple wood smoked Wildtype salmon, blood orange tiger’s milk, sea-grapes, sweet potato puree, red onion relish. Meanwhile the latter roll was a composition of Wildtype salmon, avocado, gamtae, creamy yuzu miso, sweet soy glaze. Beyond presentation, the taste was not quite on a par with the real thing, but it does come close and will almost certainly improve. ‘Version two’ of the product, we were told, would contain more flavour and fibre.

Readers won’t be seeing Wildtype products in their supermarkets any time soon, but the expectation is that its sushi-grade salmon will be in selected restaurants (in America) before not too long. A commercial launch of a smoked salmon product may follow. Regulatory approval remains the biggest near-term challenge, but Wildtype is “confident” this should occur in the US before the end of 2025. Discussions are underway in other countries too. The business has already begun to think ahead and has a lease on a larger production plant outside California in order to scale its business. We have long argued for a ‘protein-aisle’ of diverse alternatives to conventional products and believe that Wildtype should have a place on it – particularly once consumers taste its products.

4 April 2024

The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise.

Click here to view all Blog posts.

Alex Gunz, Fund Manager

Photos taken by the author

Disclaimers

The document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice or any recommendation to buy, or sell or otherwise transact in any investments. The document is not intended to be construed as investment research. The contents of this document are based upon sources of information which Heptagon Capital LLP believes to be reliable. However, except to the extent required by applicable law or regulations, no guarantee, warranty or representation (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this document or its contents and, Heptagon Capital LLP, its affiliate companies and its members, officers, employees, agents and advisors do not accept any liability or responsibility in respect of the information or any views expressed herein. Opinions expressed whether in general or in both on the performance of individual investments and in a wider economic context represent the views of the contributor at the time of preparation. Where this document provides forward-looking statements which are based on relevant reports, current opinions, expectations and projections, actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. All opinions and estimates included in the document are subject to change without notice and Heptagon Capital LLP is under no obligation to update or revise information contained in the document. Furthermore, Heptagon Capital LLP disclaims any liability for any loss, damage, costs or expenses (including direct, indirect, special and consequential) howsoever arising which any person may suffer or incur as a result of viewing or utilising any information included in this document. 

The document is protected by copyright. The use of any trademarks and logos displayed in the document without Heptagon Capital LLP’s prior written consent is strictly prohibited. Information in the document must not be published or redistributed without Heptagon Capital LLP’s prior written consent. 

Heptagon Capital LLP, 63 Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HS
tel +44 20 7070 1800
email [email protected] 

Partnership No: OC307355 Registered in England and Wales Authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 

Heptagon Capital Limited is licenced to conduct investment services by the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Related Insights

Alzheimer’s: The final healthcare frontier
  • Featured Insights

Alzheimer’s: The final healthcare frontier

Season 6, Post 16: From golf course to warehouse
  • Featured Insights

Season 6, Post 16: From golf course to warehouse

View From The Top: That inflating feeling
  • Featured Insights

View From The Top: That inflating feeling

GET THE UPDATES

Sign up to our monthly email newsletter for the latest fund updates, webcasts and insights.