Future of Seafood

Plant-based seafood brands explore seaweed, mycelium and 3D printing to enhance texture, taste

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/Aamulya
Source: Getty/Aamulya

Related tags plant-based seafood eco-friendly vegan

As the plant-based seafood segment continues to evolve, ingredient innovation paves the way towards consumer acceptance, shown through notable VC investments in the sector.

AQUA Cultured Foods produces fish-free, whole-muscle cut calamari, shrimp, scallops and filets of tuna and whitefish alternatives from its proprietary mycoprotein fermentation processes to produce microbes and fibers that mimic the taste and texture of its counterparts.

In April 2023, the Chicago-based company tacked on $5.5m in funding, led by Stray Dog Capital and other VCs, including H Ventures, Aztec Capital Management and Amplifica Capital, among others. The company, which raised more than $8m total in funding, has focused on expanding its Chicago production with the acquisition of a 5,000 square-foot pilot facility to produce up about 5,000 pounds a month of finished product​ for high end restaurants.

Finetuning the fibrous structure of seafood also drives Oshi’s (formerly Plantish​) production of its whole-cut vegan salmon filets. The Israeli company is focused on delivering the taste, texture and nutritional​ value of salmon through a 3D printed process that includes legumes, omega-3 fat from algae and other plant-based ingredients that are similar to salmon’s molecular components.

Oshi has focused on delivering its filets to fine-dining restaurants and collaborating with Michelin chefs like Adeena Sussman. Since its beginnings in 2021, the company raised $14.5m in funding from investors like Unovis, which backed other plant-based brands like Beyond Meat and Oatly, along with Pitango, TechAviv Founder Partners, SOMV and SmartAgro, among others.

Tapping into the tinned fish trend, which rose to prominence via TikTok from younger consumers looking for taste and convenient snacks to accompany their charcuterie board pairings, Bettafish’s tuna alternative, TU-NAH, appeals to consumers looking for familiarity with an eco-friendly agenda, with its canned, jarred and spread options.

Using seaweed, a regenerative and sustainable alternative to fishing that’s sourced from Norway and Ireland, and fava bean protein sourced from northern France, TU-NAH contains no GMOs, methyl cellulose, wheat or soy, and available in retail and in foodservice across Western Europe, including 4,000 Aldi locations in Germany.

Despite the seemingly more laborious harvesting of seaweed, Bettafish manages to keep the price of its TU-NAH sandwiches​ comparable to that of traditional tuna sandwiches, highlighting the company’s efficient production process and focus on affordability.

Diving into the plant-based seafood category with industry experts

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Deniz Ficicioglu, CEO and co-founder of Bettafish, will provide more insights to the company’s growth during a panel discussion with other plant-based seafood brands and experts during FoodNavigator-USA’s free editorial webinar, The Future of Seafood​, which takes place March 13, 2024 at 11 AM CT.

The hour-long webinar, hosted by Deniz Ataman, deputy editor, FoodNavigator-USA, will dive into market drivers and consumer perceptions, technological innovation & research development, environmental impact and the investment landscape.

The lineup features exclusive insights and discussions from:

  • Will Biggar, CFO, Local Coho
  • Deniz Ficicioglu, CEO, co-founder, Bettafish
  • Steve Markenson, VP, research & insights, FMI – The Food Industry Association
  • Moria Shimoni, Ph.D., CTO, co-founder, Forsea Foods

Attendance is free with registration. To sign up, please visit the registration page here​.

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