BlueNalu, a leader in the development of cell-cultured seafood, announced that it has unlocked the path to significant profitability in its first large-scale facility due, in part, to a series of breakthrough technologies. These technologies are expected to drastically reduce both operating and capital costs for large-scale production, and when combined with the company's premium product and market focus, will enable a projected 75% gross margin. The company’s first product will be bluefin tuna toro, a highly prized and specialty portion that commands premium pricing across global markets. 

In order to achieve commercial viability, the cell-cultured protein industry must overcome considerable technology challenges as determined by industry experts. These commonly known challenges include scalable cell growth technologies; the development of food-grade raw materials; production methods that enable regulatory approval and consumer adoption; and processes that support continuous volume production. In view of these challenges, species selection, product format and market fit are critical factors in the profitability equation.   

BlueNalu has developed breakthrough technologies that pave the way to scalability and significant cost reduction, advancing the company towards its goal to produce nutritional, functional, and high-value seafood products. These include a non-GMO, single-cell suspension line with high growth rates that are expected to accelerate the company’s scale-up to large bioreactors. This also includes a revolutionary lipid-loading technique, that is projected to result in a significant reduction in capital expenditures and enable the company to make products with higher fat profiles and sensory attributes, such as the toro portion of bluefin tuna. Importantly, the company has also designed downstream processes to allow for continuous production and eliminate the need for plant-based scaffolds, which can affect product cookability, scalability and flavor.  

To validate its commercialization pathway, BlueNalu commissioned a techno-economic analysis (TEA) that was performed in collaboration with a leading global Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) firm and experts in bioprocess modeling. The work was conducted in order to model the technological performance and economic considerations of BlueNalu’s cell-cultured seafood production, incorporating the company’s technical milestones. The TEA required an in-depth evaluation of every piece of equipment, all associated costs, and the technologies and assumptions that will result in the Capex, OpEx, and production capacity of BlueNalu’s first large-scale facility. The analysis validated that the incorporation of single-cell suspension and lipid-loading could result in more than 5x cost reduction compared to production methods that do not utilize these technologies.  

BlueNalu’s first large-scale facility is designed to enable multi-species capability to produce up to six million pounds of premium seafood products annually, utilizing eight 100,000L terminal bioreactors. The ~140,000sq-ft facility will follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and BlueNalu anticipates that this factory will be able to commence production in 2027. 

This announcement is the latest in a series of developments towards commercial introduction and large-scale product viability. Earlier this year, BlueNalu expanded into its 38,000sq-ft pilot production facility located in San Diego, which is initially focused on pilot-production of its premium bluefin tuna toro and completing the processes that will be required for regulatory review. This is BlueNalu’s newest location and will also serve as the company’s innovation center, introducing additional species and product forms for market testing over the next few years.