Plant-based seafood: The next big vegan move?

  • Plant-based seafood The next big vegan move? (plant-based-fish-boring.jpg)

Illustrations by Linda-Maria Acevedo

Plant-based meat alternatives are nothing new anymore. As people became increasingly interested in animal welfare and food sustainability, companies such as Beyond Meat, Upton's Naturals, Tofurky introduced the first faux meat burger patties and quickly expanded their portfolio.

Over the past month, we were able to observe how restaurants increasingly adapted their food offerings and how the popular food retailers jumped on the bandwagon and successfully introduced their own meat-free products.

But what about seafood, is it not worth the fuss? Don't we all enjoy eating sushi and salmon cream cheese bagels once in a while or adding tuna to our salads?

We are facing the same sustainability issues when it comes to fish and shellfish as we do with meat:

  • Commercial overfishing and climate change are putting global seafood supply at risk and destroy the marine ecosystems
  • Fish farms and bycatching are topics, questioning animal welfare
  • Microplastics and industrial waste are matters, affecting our health

Enough reasons why we can expect alternative seafood to be the next big thing on the horizon!

When talking about alternative seafood products, it’s not about vegetables or soy chunks coated in breadcrumbs to make them look like fish fingers. It is about creating a multi-sensory experience that comes close to the real deal.

There are already some innovative minds taking on this challenge and are offering some plant-based alternatives to popular seafood products.

Sophie's Kitchen

Sophie’s Kitchen is a great example of alternative seafood products. Inspired by his daughters' serious allergy to shellfish, the founder Eugene Y. Wang started off in 2011 by introducing a range of fish fillets, shrimps and canned tuna.

  • Media module (sophies-kitchen-scallops.png)

The products are mainly based on natural ingredients such as konjac powder, pea starch, potato starch, sea salt, organic agave nectar, seaweed powder and alginate, aiming to make gourmet plant-based seafood available to everyone.

Sophie's Kitchen products range from Crab Cakes, Coconut Shrimp, Scallops, Smoked Salmon to Toona and is available nationwide in the US and also in some retail stores in France.

Ocean Hugger Foods

Another innovative seafood creator is James Corwell, a certified master chef and founder of Ocean Hugger Foods, specialized in perfectionating the alternative solution for raw tuna, called AHIMI.

It is a healthy and safe to eat imitation of Ahi tuna made from tomatoes. This first product aims to be used in dishes including sashimi, nigiri, poke, tartare and ceviche.

  • Media module (ahimi.png)

AHIMI is already popular in the US and is mainly sold as a food service ingredient for the B2B food retail market rather than packaged food product for the end consumer.

Ocean Hugger Foods are currently developing additional plant-based seafood alternatives such as Sakimi (a carrot-based salmon alternative) and Unami (an eel alternative based on eggplant).

Good Catch

Next up are the products from Good Catch a company that has been founded in 2016 wanting to offer “seafood without sacrifice”. The idea started with Chris Kerr who then partnered with the master chefs Chad and Derek Sarno that already had successful careers within the vegan and vegetarian food industry.

  • Media module (good-catch-tuna.png)

Good Catch products are composed of algal oil, lentils, navy, chickpeas and fava beans, which not only resembles the texture of tuner but are also a great source of plant-based proteins. Their product range includes fish-free tuna in different flavours, fish-free burgers and crab free cakes. Good Catch is national wide available in the US but is planning to expand globally in 2019.

New Wave Foods

New Wave is another startup disrupting the seafood product offering. A company founded by two innovative women who have started developing algae-and plant-based shrimp alternatives after being accepted at Indie Bio, the world's largest biotech accelerator. The company has just started selling their products in the US as a B2B product and are in the process of expanding.

  • Media module (new-wave-shrimp.png)

As we can see there are some delicious alternative seafood products out there, which all received great reviews on several social media platforms.

Maybe this leads some retailers to get in touch with one of these companies to introduce the products in their assortment or maybe some creative innovators got inspired to start their own alternative seafood startup.

Let’s see if we will be seeing some of the products soon in our local supermarkets.

About the author

About Linda-Maria Acevedo (img_0294-3.jpg)

Linda-Maria Acevedo
Project Manager Market Intelligence at

Linda-Maria Acevedo has gained 7 years of operational experience in the hotel and F&B industry while working for Kempinski. She graduated from EHL with a Bachelor degree in Hospitality Management. Linda-Maria also worked for the METRO chair of Innovation at EHL setting up the Market Intelligence Platform for online food trend tracking.

In January 2017 Linda-Maria Acevedo joined to further engage in the Trend Scouting topic and integrate it into METRO operations.

Branding und Webseite von NX-Food werden entwickelt von dombek—bolay und Naasner Office, in enger Zusammenarbeit mit dem NX-Food Team.