Over three billion people around the world rely on fish as their primary source of protein. Since the 1960s, more than 30% of commercially fished waters have been classified as ‘overfished’ and another 60% are fished at their maximum sustainable levels to meet the ever-rising food demand resulting from a constantly growing human population and the resource-intense modern diet.
Humans are fishing at biologically unsustainable rates, significantly affecting marine wildlife and disrupting the global ocean ecosystem. As a result, fishes are disappearing faster than they can be replaced and if we do not slow down, the world’s oceans will be “virtually empty” by 2048.
Because of the high content of toxic chemicals that seafood contains, reducing our intake of fish will not save us from the dangers that these substances represent to human health. Moreover, the contaminants found in fish often outweigh the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids. For these reasons, the only solution we have to save our planet and stop compromising our health is to give up fish altogether.
Are There Any Alternatives to Seafood?
Obviously, a way to reduce our intake of seafood is by switching to a vegetarian diet, but with huge progress made in the plant-based seafood industry in recent years, it does not mean that we have to give up the taste of fish altogether.
Similar to what brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have done for the meat industry, plant-based seafood companies are working on growing a new protein market, moving on from the already popular fingers and crumbed fish burgers to new products such as plant-based analogues of fish fillets that can satisfy the still unmet demand in the industry.
In recent years, a growing number of companies and startups have realised the importance of shifting to plant-based seafood to help reduce the demand of fresh seafood, alleviate the global overfishing problem and stress on the already-deleting marine population.
5 Plant-Based Seafood Companies To Know
1. OmniFoods (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong-based OmniFoods, originally known for their plant-based pork mince OmniPork, recently expanded their offerings to include six seafood products: two different fish fillets, an ocean burger, salmon, shelf-stable tuna, and crab cakes.
In late 2021, the company announced a partnership with Starbucks to serve OmniSeafood’s Omni Crab Cakes across 170 locations in Hong Kong, signalling a change in mainstream demand among Asian consumers.
2. The Plant Based Seafood Co. (United States)
In over 20 years of successfully creating and selling award-winning seafood products, this all-female, family-owned company experienced first hand the unacceptable and sometimes hidden practices in the industry.
Today, The Plant Based Seafood Co. sells six different seafood alternatives, from crab and lobster cakes to scallop and shrimp. The latter – made with 100% plant-based ingredients – was named Most Disruptive Product of 2020 at Prepared Foods’ Spirit of Innovation awards.
3. Good Catch (United States)
From crab cakes and fish sticks to incredibly realistic fish fillets and salmon burgers, the secret of US-based food tech company Good Catch’s alternative seafood products lies in its flavourful six-legume blend of peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans, and navy beans.
In 2021, the company secured USD$26 million in funding to further fuel its plant-based expansion into European and global markets and in 2022, including a deal with US-based Sprouts Farmers Market to launch their new breaded-product nationwide.
4. Fazenda Futuro aka. Future Farm (Brazil)
Brazil-based Fazenda Futuro, created in 2019 and internationally branded as Future Farm, originally specialised in alternative meat products. Its revolutionary Future Burger patties made 100% from plants and natural ingredients were recently certified as carbon neutral globally.
The company has recently ventured into the plant-based seafood market, bringing the first plant-based tuna to Brazil. Aside from being produced with natural ingredients such as soy, peas, chickpeas, olive oil, and radish, developers included microalgae oil to provide omega-3s and satisfy consumers’ demand for plant-based products with similar nutritional values as traditional fish.
5. Kuleana (United States)
San Francisco-based food tech startup Kuleana specialises in sushi-grade plant-based fish alternatives like bluefin tuna and salmon, and was one of the first plant-based seafood companies to address the lack of vegan alternatives to sushi-like raw fish in the market.
Its plant-based tuna, made with radish, bamboo, algae, and pea protein and with high nutritional values including iron, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acid was named one of TIME’s top 100 best inventions in 2021.
This article was originally written and published by Earth.Org and is republished here as part of an editorial partnership.
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