The ISH Company is a US startup taking a unique approach to producing “deliciously disruptive” plant-based seafood. ISH stands for Innovative, Healthy and Sustainable, and the company says it is devoted to creating superior seafood alternatives that don’t compromise on taste or ingredients.
Founded by sustainability veteran Bernard David, ISH’s portfolio includes an extensive range of future offerings, from plant-based cod and salmon to lobster and crab.
The startup’s flagship product, the ultra realistic Shrimpish, is now available at select US food service locations. We spoke with ISH President and COO Christie Fleming about this impressive startup and its ambitious goals to transform the alt-seafood category.
Please tell our readers more about The ISH Company – how did it begin and what kind of products does it sell?
The ISH Company is a plant-based company creating a healthier, more sustainable future for seafood. We just raised more than $5M to accelerate growth and development of our plant-based food portfolio, with more than 25 products in the works, including salmon, crab, lobster and cod alternatives that have the same taste and texture of animal products. We currently offer Shrimpish, our flagship shrimp alternative, in select restaurants and campus dining halls, including Harvard’s and Amherst’s.
Bernard David founded ISH after suffering a life-threatening heart attack and decided to pursue a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Bernard was already deeply immersed in sustainability efforts, being the Chair of the Global CO2 Initiative, a member of the Director’s Council of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and having previously served as an advisor to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Once he connected the dots between his passions for saving the earth and nutritious foods, ISH was born.
ISH is one of the first alt-seafood companies to focus on using exclusively clean-label ingredients that are also eco-friendly. Why are clean-label ingredients so important to the brand?
Clean-label products are vital to our Whole System Approach, through which we prioritize nutrition, reducing carbon emissions, and creating healthy communities. We think about every single step in the creation of our products, from soil and water to table, and ask ourselves how we can make the process healthier for everyone involved. ISH is doing its part to create a food system that prioritizes people’s health and the needs of our planet.
ISH’s flagship product, Shrimpish, looks incredibly realistic – down to the shrimp-like “tail”! How did the company achieve such an impressive appearance and texture?
To achieve the unique texture of shrimp, the ISH team studied the real animal to understand the primary drivers of texture such as the fresh “snap” in the first bite. Our team then created 25 plant-based prototypes to mimic the texture of shrimp, with a detailed log of which ingredients hold onto water for a moist bite and which ones release water for a juicy burst. The right combination results in an experience reminiscent of real shrimp.
“The ISH team studied the real animal to understand the primary drivers of texture such as the fresh ‘snap’ in the first bite”
Like all of ISH’s products, Shrimpish is only made up of ingredients that are part of a healthy diet and have a positive or neutral environmental impact, including coconut and algae.
Where can consumers currently find Shrimpish? Will availability expand in 2023?
Shrimpish is currently available in select restaurants and campus dining halls, including those at Harvard and Amherst. ISH plans to expand its availability through additional nationwide distributors in the near future.
In 2022, ISH partnered with global seafood giant Thai Union and Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods. Can you share how this partnership will potentially benefit ISH’s marketing and distribution?
Our partnership with Thai Union and Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods furthers The ISH Company’s mission to provide communities globally with a regenerative, nutritious food system. Our environmental-first philosophy is reflected in everything we do — from marketing to distribution partners, and thus this alliance benefits our company’s overall strategic goals as we continue innovating in the plant-based food space.
Beyond Shrimpish, ISH revealed that it has over 25 additional plant-based seafood products in the works, including salmon, crab, lobster and cod. Which product might be the next to debut?
In the next few weeks, ISH will debut a new plant-based salmon product that is convenient and easy to prepare. Stay tuned!
What does ISH hope to accomplish in the next five years?
In the next five years, ISH will continue to grow its distribution network and develop innovative plant-based seafood products, moving the plant-based industry forward as a whole.