Boldly casts its line in plant-based seafood market with konjac products
Boldly is tearing a page from Impossible Foods' and other plant-based players' playbook by looking to find first a foothold in the foodservice channel to help tastemakers, Zelden explained.
"These chefs, these tastemakers, they're so critical, and they're so passionate about what they do, and I want to work with these people because they're the ones that need a little bit of help. Right now, they want to be carrying some of these great products, but the price sometimes [make it so] they're priced out ... I'm very passionate about supporting that end of the market when we come out of the gates with Boldly.”
Foodservice companies, especially vegan ones, are "often left out in the cold," due to a "fragmented distribution ecosystem,” and Zelden said he hopes to help alleviate some of those challenges with Boldly’s line of plant-based seafood products. And as these foodservice brands use Boldly products, it will receive consumer feedback, which can help inform Boldly’s innovation, he added.
The bigger ESG conversation
Zelden said he also believes Boldly can help brands progress on their ESG goals.
“They’re going to have to have that conversation around food,” Zelden suggested. Just as brands are looking to invest in renewable energy, they might look to plant-based proteins as another way to reduce their carbon footprint, he added.
Sustainability claims around plant-based protein and dairy has been a historic selling point for the category. And last November, a systematic scoping review published in Nature Food found that plant-based alternatives for dairy and meat used less water and land and produced less CO2, though the study noted that further research is needed to assess the environmental impact of plant-based seafood vs traditional seafood.
Looking to the future, elevating the category
While the future of the plant-based protein market has been a topic of debate in the food industry recently, Zelden noted that the space is “not going anywhere,” and that he is confident in the future of plant-based.
Looking to the future, Boldly will continue to innovate its product line, which might include finding ways of bringing some of the traditional nutritional aspects of fish, namely Omega-3s, to its plant-based alternative, Zelden said. Just as "folate is fortified in bread," Boldly is exploring potentially doing something similar, he added.
And while the plant-based protein category might be experiencing some growing pains, "we are at the very beginning," and there is still plenty of opportunities for the future, Zelden said.
“We all should work together on that front. I'm not looking … to take someone's market share; I'm looking to grow this category out together, collectively.”