Dutch company Schouten Europe B.V. is to launch a plant-based tuna alternative. The company has been producing meat alternatives since 1990, but this is the first time it has made a fish substitute.
Schouten says it decided to start with a tuna alternative because many tuna species are endangered. By launching the product, it hopes to provide a sustainable solution to the problem.
Initially, Schouten announced that the product would be called TuNo. However, US company Atlantic Natural Foods objected because it already markets a trademarked product called TUNO. Schouten has agreed to rename the product within a month, but it’s not yet known what the new name will be. Schouten also clarified that it does not intend to sell the product to the consumer — instead, it will be sold to companies to use as an ingredient.
According to the company, the ingredient can be used in products such as sandwiches, wraps, salads, and ready meals. It will be partnering with a large Dutch retailer to launch meals made with the product at the end of February.
Until recently, there were very few tuna alternatives on the market. But companies such as Good Catch and Legendary Vish have set out to change that, and even large multinationals such as Nestlé are entering the market. UK restaurant chain Wagamama has also introduced vegan tuna, while US brand Jinka has created a plant-based tuna salad spread.
“All tuna species are heavily overfished and a large number of species are threatened with extinction,” said Schouten product manager Annemiek Vervoort. “Our vegetable tuna has the same bite and taste as real tuna. The product is suitable for eating cold and is therefore immediately ready to eat for anyone who wants to enjoy the taste of tuna in a sustainable way.”