Food tech startup Aqua Cultured Foods has completed development of its first commercial product from its novel microbial fermentation technology. Aqua’s calamari fries will be available through strategic partners later this year.  

Aqua’s fermentation technology yields mycoprotein with a realistic appearance, taste, and texture plus high nutritional value—a holy grail in alt-protein. This proprietary method delivers the first whole-muscle cut, sushi-quality seafood alternatives.  

Per 100 gram serving, Aqua’s calamari alternative contains approximately 80 calories, 15-20 grams protein, 10-12 grams fiber and no sodium, saturated fat or cholesterol. 

Culinary advisor Johnny Carino, an executive chef who has opened more than 100 restaurants worldwide and developed more than a dozen concepts, helped lock in the formula for the company’s first product. With Carino’s help, Aqua’s team perfected its realistic texture and preparation, and will offer calamari fries in seasoned and breaded options. 

“As you bite in, you get an immediate crunch note that combines with the realistic, slightly chewy texture of the calamari,” said Carino. “It looks and acts like calamari. There was no learning curve as you’d expect with a completely new product or ingredient.” 

In addition to calamari, Aqua is developing shrimp, scallops, and filets of animal-free tuna and whitefish, all with a realistic taste and texture. Aqua’s fermentation methods do not use any animal inputs, genetic altering or modification and can be marketed as non-GMO.

About Aqua Cultured Foods
Aqua Cultured Foods is an innovative food technology startup developing the world’s first whole-muscle cut seafood alternatives created through microbial fermentation. Its novel technology produces a sustainable, complete protein source using only a fraction of the resources required by traditional aquaculture. As an R&D company with a focus on product commercialization, Aqua Cultured Foods occupies a unique position in the burgeoning alt-seafood market as well as within the fermentation industry. The company’s mission is to mitigate global challenges such as overfishing, climate change and feeding the world’s expanding population with delicious, nutrient-rich foods. Investors include Supply Change Capital, Aera VC, HPA, Sustainable Food Ventures, Hanfield Venture Partners, Lifely VC, Conscience VC, Kingfisher Capital, Big Idea Ventures, and Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena.