UNITED STATES: Safe Catch, a San Francisco, CA-based food tech startup, recently got USD 5 million in seed funding to develop more fish products with very low mercury content.
The funds, provided by Echo Capital, Essential Investments, and other investors, will help the company expand its product range, which includes a line of bagged tuna seasoned with "real spice blends", canned Ahi tuna and canned and bagged salmon.
The company developed a patented technology to detect mercury levels in a variety of fish, and its founders claim that its own brand of tuna products has the lowest mercury levels.
Safe Catch initially tried to commercialize its technology with some of the big tuna manufacturers but found little interest from the industry.
The lack of market took it almost to disappear, and it was then when its founders, Sean Wittenberg and Bryan Boches, decided to change their strategy and become tuna manufacturers.
“We’re the only brand and the only company in the world that can screen fish for mercury in real-time,” Boches told TechCrunch. “Otherwise, it would take a lab a week and cost USD 100 for every single test, and that would mean each can would be USD 20 a can. It would never work.”
The company started its product from scratch and now sells to 10,000 stores in the United States. It is doubling its sales year after year and creating 22 SKU (stock-keeping unit).
“We started over and created a canned tuna that tastes better, looks better and is better for you,” Wittenberg said. “Our artisan process lets us retain 100 percent of the nutrients and natural oils in each tuna and we slow cook each one to perfection,” he added.