Plant-based seafood is next ‘hot’ thing as rise in popularity draws R&D investment

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Plant-based seafood, also known as faux fish or alt seafood, is on the verge of a revolution in the UK as companies, spurred on by booming sales of plant milks and meat substitutes, are pouring investment into the area, stated a report today (16).

With the rise in environmental concerns regarding overfishing, the focus is now shifting on fish alternative foods, The Guardian reported, adding how a slew of food companies are going full-gear to expand their plant-based fish alternatives.

The Dutch brand Vegan Zeastar aims to “veganise every dish that involves fish to fight the destruction of our oceans”. Its latest product is smoked “Zalmon”, made from tapioca starch, that looks uncannily similar to salmon and is due to go on sale early next year, said the report. 

Nestlé, the world’s biggest food group, has 300 people working on plant-based foods. Mark Schneider, its chief executive, said there had been a “significant shift” towards plant-based eating across all age groups.

This month’s launch of Vrimp by Nestle, the faux shrimp made from seaweed and peas, is the latest in this category. Nestle is also working to develop Vuna, fake Tuna, made out of pea and wheat protein.

Tesco, which works with the American chef and self-proclaimed “plant pusher” Derek Sarno, is set to expand its plant-based range with a handful of new products including Thai-style fish cakes and New England-style crab cakes.

Tesco’s newly stocked products, which include Quorn fishless fingers and a fish burger, would be keenly priced, he said, so would offer customers with “easy swaps”, the report said.

The British brand Jack & Bry created the £8 filet-no-fish burger sold in the Lewis Hamilton-backed vegan chain Neat Burger. It mimics the taste of cod but is made of jackfruit marinated in seaweed.

Last month, UK plant-based brand Moving Mountains announced the release of its second plant-based seafood product offering with its new fish fillet. The launch came after the release of the brand’s fish fingers last year.

Describing the category of plant-based seafood as “hot”,  Thijs Geijer, a senior economist at ING, told the publication that a lot more time and money are being devoted to creating plant-based burgers and nuggets than ever.