Plate up for the world's first faux shrimp dish

You may have heard about the dozens of companies testing lab-grown chicken and beef,

hoping to break into the alternative meat market -

which Barclays estimates could be worth $140 billion by 2029.

But a Singapore-based start-up is wading into crustaceans -

catering for more diverse diets.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SHIOK MEATS, SANDYA SRIRAM, SAYING:

"…most of the companies that have started in the last three to four years have concentrated on red and white meat, because that is what is consumed much more in the west."

Shiok Meats says it's the first company to grow shrimp and lobster in the lab.

It extracts cell samples,

feeds them with nutrients -

and then nurtures the stem cells into meat over four to six weeks.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SHIOK MEATS, SANDYA SRIRAM, SAYING:

"So all the magic basically happens here."

The proof of the so-called "clean meat" is in the taste.

One of our reporters tried it out themselves…

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS JOURNALIST, TRAVIS TEO, SAYING:

"It just tastes like a regular dumpling."

… but it doesn't come cheap.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS JOURNALIST, TRAVIS TEO, SAYING:

"... this dumpling by itself cost about $200-300 to make."

2.2 pounds of shrimp meat currently costs $5,000.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SHIOK MEATS, SANDYA SRIRAM, SAYING:

"90% of our cost from that is actually this nutrient solution that you see everywhere."

The company hopes that cost will be lowered by 100 times this year.

It's eco-credentials may be appetizing, too.


Land-based farming has long been known for its environmental impact

- one of the selling points for alternative beef or poultry.


Aquaculture is no different.

It's been blamed for hits to mangroves and other ecosystems across Asia,

and some farms have been criticized for overuse of antibiotics.