TORONTO — CULT Food Science Corp. announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Umami Meats on April 6. Through the partnership, Umami Meats will supply CULT with cultivated red snapper for use in its pet food products.

Founded by Mihir Pershad, chief executive officer of the company, Umami Meats leverages technology to create “not caught” seafood that offers sustainable benefits. The company produces its cellular-based fish by growing fish cells in bioreactors. Through this process, Umami Meats helps eliminate the need for ocean harvesting.  

“We must take steps to preserve ocean food sources and ecosystems for the long term,” said Lejjy Gafour, chief executive officer of CULT. “Fish is heavily used in pet foods and feeds for both land and aquatic animals alike. Being able to replace ocean harvested fish with cell-based sources is a strong solution to relieving the destructive pressures on our aquatic ecosystem. At the same time, it also will let us provide healthier alternatives for our pets.”

CULT will use Umami Meats’ cultured red snapper ingredients in its Marina Cat treats. Marina Cat, a new pet food brand by CULT, seeks to provide longevity and immunity health benefits to cats through ocean-derived ingredients. Marina Cat exclusively uses cellular-based fish and marine ingredients, helping to reduce reliance on commercial fishing.

According to CULT, the treats will be one of the “world’s first cell-cultivated fish pet products.”

“As a company focused on advancing cellular agriculture, we are thrilled to partner with Umami Meats to create a new line of pet treats that promotes sustainability and ocean welfare,” said Joshua Errett, vice president of product development at CULT. “With Marina Cat, we can offer pet owners a unique and healthy option for their feline companions, while simultaneously reducing the negative impact of traditional pet food on our oceans and marine life. We are excited to collaborate with Umami Meats and bring this innovative product to market.”

Alongside its partnership with Umami Meats, CULT also announced on April 11, a partnership with JellaTech to create a line of collagen-enhanced pet food products under CULT’s Indiana Pets brand.

Founded by Stephanie Michelsen, JellaTech specializes in producing functional, native collagen without the use of animals. Traditionally, native collagen is developed by extracting it from animals, JellaTech is doing away with this method to boost sustainability. According to JellaTech, cellular-based collagen is more sustainable and serves as a “smarter” high-quality alternative to traditional animal-based collagen.

CULT will use JellaTech’s cell-based collagen in Indiana Pets’ formulas. The brand seeks to provide wholesome, premium nutrition to dogs with a low environmental impact. As an essential protein, collagen provides support, elasticity and strength, supporting overall pet health and wellness. Indiana Pets’ dog food will be formulated with high-purity, tier-one collagen, made specifically for active and senior dogs.

“Collagen has a largely unregulated supply chain, in which the environmental damage caused by this product are unreported,” Errett said. “But as we've seen from independent investigation, the collagen craze in both pet and human products has been shown to be a major driver of Brazilian rainforest destruction. I think pet owners will be all-too-ready to buy high-quality, high-purity collagen from a source that doesn't have such harsh consequences for the planet.”

According to CULT, its partnership with JellaTech will have a significant impact on the pet food industry, as well as the environment.

“We are thrilled to partner with Jellatech to offer cultured collagen for pet food brands,” Gafour said. “This partnership is a significant step forward in our mission to provide sustainable and ethical alternatives to traditional animal agriculture. We are excited to be the first company to offer animal-free collagen to pets and look forward to working with Jellatech to bring this innovative product to market.”

These partnerships follow CULT’s acquisition of consumer brand assets, related patents, non-scientific intellectual property, and product formulations from Because Animals. Following this, the company announced three new consumer pet food brands: Noochies!, formerly owned by Because Animals, Indiana Pets and Marina Cat.

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