Meat- and Fish Alternatives

US Plant-Based Shrimp Firm New Wave Foods Shuts Down Amidst Financial Woes

San Francisco-based New Wave Foods, a plant-based seafood company backed by Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of poultry giant Tyson Foods, ceased activities last November and is currently undergoing assignment for the benefit of creditors (a voluntary alternative to formal bankruptcy), as first reported by Alt Meat.

According to a general assignment document, New Wave Foods faced financial difficulties and admitted its inability to repay its debts fully. Consequently, the company decided to halt its operations. 

Plant-based shrimp for foodservice

New Wave Foods manufactured plant-based shrimp for the food service industry. Michelle Wolf and Dominique Barnes established the company in 2015 to disrupt the $9 billion dollar shrimp market with an alternative made with sustainable seaweed and plant proteins. The company planned to develop a range including lobster, scallops, and crab.

In 2021, New Wave Foods secured $18 million in a Series A round, with the participation of previous investor Tyson Ventures, to expand the New Wave Shrimp products to restaurants and foodservice locations. 

PopcornShrimp New Wave Foods
©New Wave Foods

“We’re launching a versatile plant-based shrimp that can be used in a wide range of shrimp dishes. We have developed a product that is delicious and easy to prepare; these are key factors for foodservice operators, said Wolf at the time. 

Later that year, the firm announced a partnership with Dot Foods, North America’s largest industry distributor, to launch New Wave Shrimp officially. 

“New Wave Shrimp is an extremely unique product – a true game changer in the seafood industry,” Rodd Willis, Director of Natural and Specialty at Dot Foods, commented.

Konscious Foods
© Konscious Foods

Plant-based seafood to protect the sea

According to the Good Food Institute, plant-based seafood has the potential to relieve pressure on marine habitats and create a more resilient food system. Compared to fishing and aquaculture, its impacts include reduced GHG emissions, lower biocide and antimicrobial use, less chemical contamination, and land use, resulting in lower habitat loss while protecting marine species.

Meanwhile, in North America, the plant-based seafood company The ISH Company is working in a non-exclusive distribution agreement with Dot Foods, and the alt seafood brand Mind Blown Plant-Based Seafood has launched new products with kelp ingredients produced by Atlantic Sea Farms.

Also, Koncious Foods is expanding its frozen and ready-to-eat plant-based sushi presence in the US, and in Canada, it has partnered with Protein Industries Canada to develop new products.

Yves Potvin, founder and President of Konscious Foods, recently shared his insights on the space with vegconomist readers: “A complex and difficult economic environment has challenged consumers in the past year. As everyday essentials cost more, shoppers are increasingly monitoring their budgets. It’s important that consumers feel the money they are spending on one of the most key essentials – food – is well spent.

“For the plant-based industry to grow and scale, its products must meet four critical areas of consumer demand: nutrition, affordability, convenience, and taste.” 

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