Faux Seafood is Starting to Make a Splash

Vegan fish companies are providing tasty, plant-based alternatives.

Sep 8, 2020

 (Lika Mostova / Shutterstock.com)

Alternatives to meat and dairy have taken the world by storm over the past five years as people are becoming more conscious of the environmental, health, and ethical impacts of animal agriculture.

Less discussed among these new products are alternatives to fish, whose texture, flavor profile, and nutritional benefits are harder to mimic. However, in a bid to enter this untouched niche, General Mills, Tyson Foods, and a handful of celebrities are jumping onboard the plant-based boat and investing in faux-fish companies.  

Among those developing and selling imitation seafood are Good Catch, which makes mock tuna, New Wave Foods, which makes plant-based shrimp, Prime Roots and several others who have come out with faux salmon patties, lobster chunks and crab cakes in of a collection of classic and unique ingredients such as pea protein, fungi, and more.

Although lesser known than the popular Beyond Meat, an $8.6 billion company that stole the show by redefining plant-based burgers, these companies are making strides developing delicious and nutritious alternatives to animal-based foods. 

Investments and global partnerships for these companies keep growing as more people opt into fishless products. According to Bloomberg, Tyson Foods has decided to invest in New Wave Food’s faux shrimp, buying a minority stake. 

Similarly, Good Catch recently announced that it is teaming up with tuna fish powerhouse Bumble Bee Seafood Company to help expand the distribution of their products. According to  Just Food, Good Catch has also received support from celebrities such as Woody Harrelson, Paris Hilton, and Shailene Woodley. 

Regarding his investment, Harrelson said, “I have known [head chef] Chad Sarno for years and am a huge fan of the culinary work Chad and his brother Derek are driving in the market. I’m excited to work with a brand like Good Catch that leads with taste and aligns with my personal beliefs of making a difference for animals and our planet.”

The drive to develop faux fish comes in response to several environmental factors. Ocean warming, according to a study from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, is causing the depletion of worldwide fish stocks.

While investments have been growing for faux fish, it’s still so marginal that the Plant Based Foods Association doesn’t track it as part of the industry’s $4.5 billion category, as reported on Bloomberg.

“This presents [a] tremendous opportunity,” explained Michele Simon, the group’s executive director, to Bloomberg referring to faux seafood. “Any company that can crack the code of great-tasting, affordable options is well positioned to succeed.”

As more entrepreneurs, companies, and investors seek to fill this niche, new creative and tasty options enter the global plant-based menu, providing consumers more environmental, ethical, and healthy products. Opting for plant-based seafood helps rehabilitate marine habitats, minimizes plastic pollution in oceans, and restores biodiversity for generations to come. 

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HILLA BENZAKEN, CONTRIBUTOR
Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.