After the Covid-19 crisis forced Ocean Hugger to cease operations last year, the outlook was bleak for the US plant-based seafood company. Good news is at hand however, as Ocean Hugger is relaunching via a new partnership with Thailand’s Nove Foods, a subsidiary of publicly listed NRF.
Founded in 2016 to produce plant-based seafood alternatives, the company grew rapidly in the emerging plant-based seafood industry. By 2020, it was selling plant-based tuna and eel to foodservice customers across the US, Canada, Caribbean, and UK. However, when the pandemic broke out, the foodservice industry was hit hard as restaurants around the world closed down. Ocean Hugger was forced into closure.
Founders David Benzaquen and James Corwell did not lose hope and now Ocean Hugger Foods is back in partnership with Thailand-based food manufacturer Nove Foods Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of NR Instant Produce Public Company Limited (NRF). NRF is a leading global manufacturer of sustainably produced foods with export operations in 30 countries.
The company officially launched on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in 2020 marking it as the very first public Thai company in the plant based category. Subsidiary Nove Foods is at the cutting-edge of plant-based foods with a mission to be the world’s leading co-manufacturer of alternative protein ingredients and products.
Co-Founder and CEO David Benzaquen told vegconomist, “Over 20 years ago, I personally went plant-based in part because of my concern over the suffering of billions of fish and the destruction of our oceans. Building a pioneering plant-based seafood brand like Ocean Hugger has been a privilege and I’m so happy to see it enter this new stage”.
Through their new strategic joint venture Ocean Hugger, Inc., the initial founders and Nove Foods are preparing for a global launch of an expanded portfolio of plant-based seafood products in both retail and foodservice in late 2021.