Raul Ciurtin ©Prefera Foods


Unfished: “On a Transformational Journey Driven By New Food Trends and a Conscientious Approach”

Fish made from plants is the next big thing says Raul Ciurtin, CEO of Romanian company Prefera Foods, producer of the Unfished range of products. Here Ciurtin speaks to vegconomist about long ingredient lists, emotional business decisions and reservations about Eastern Europe. With Unfished PlanTuna, you are just launching a range of tuna alternatives in German supermarkets. What is the demand like? Germany is one of the countries that interests us the most because here the demand for seafood alternatives is already high. The consumers’ interest towards plant-based fish is growing worldwide –  and especially in Germany where many people have a strong environmental awareness. They are more willing to accept innovations and change their lifestyle. Our German distributor – Verdino GmbH – has already …


fish fingers

Image courtesy of ProVeg

Food & Beverage

The Smart Protein Project: Developing the Next Generation of Plant-Based Fish

Since the Smart Protein project is aimed at developing sustainable future foods, it makes sense that we should be exploring plant-based fish – especially given the highly unsustainable nature of the global fishing industry. In preparing this article, we consulted with several Smart Protein partners, including the Good Food Institute, ProVeg International, the applied-research organisation Fraunhofer, and the seafood companies Soguima and Thai Union. As the plant-based market continues to grow at an accelerated pace, it might seem like alternatives to fish and seafood have been left behind. While this is true to some extent, it also means that the alt-fish sub-sector represents a key opportunity in the alt-food sector – since there is plenty of space for new products to enter the market and …


Jacek Prus Kuleana

Jacek Prus ©Kuleana


Kuleana: “Alternative Seafood is a Sleeping Giant, and We Have the Product and the Team to Put it On the Map”

Next-gen seafood company Kuleana has enjoyed a wave of recent success as alt seafood continues at the forefront of consumer minds, investor interest, and innovation. The young San Francisco brand recently launched its plant-based tuna into Poké Bar restaurants across North America and was even named semifinalists of the XPRIZE Foundation Challenge. “We’re creating #thenewschooloffish” Kuleana takes its name from the Hawaiian word for taking responsibility for balancing what we give and take from the earth and honors it by producing sustainable, plant-based seafood in the US. It entered the US seafood market at the perfect time, just last September, with its debut product being a raw tuna, as part of its mission to “create next generation seafood with plants and biotechnology.” We were fascinated …


Good Catch X PLNT

Image supplied

Products & Launches

Good Catch Partners With Spike Mendelsohn’s PLNT Burger For the Save the Bay Fillet

Good Catch, producer of plant-based tuna and frozen seafood products, announces it has partnered with PLNT Burger, Chef Spike Mendelsohn’s fast casual restaurant to launch a new product called the Save the Bay Fillet. PLNT Burger added the Save the Bay Fillet to the menu from 11th July which will be available for a limited time with the Good Catch Plant-Based Breaded Fish Fillet. The Save the Bay Fillet is topped with PLNT tartar sauce, pickles, and lettuce on a potato bun. The product will be available at all locations and on the PLNT Burger app. Mendelsohn came up with the concept of PLNT Burger after being introduced to the Beyond Burger by Seth Goldman, former executive chairman at Beyond Meat. Goldman subsequently became co-founder …


Thai Union cans

©Thai Union

Company News

Tides Turn as World’s Biggest Tuna Processor Recognises That Future of Seafood is Plant-Based and Cell-Based

As much as one in five cans of tuna sold globally is canned by Thai Union, which operates under different brand names in various markets such as John West in the UK,  Petit Navire in France, Mareblu in Italy and Chicken of the Sea in the USA, raking in annual sales exceeding US$ 4.2 billion. “Alternative proteins are an important innovative product that we aim to deliver to meet the needs of consumers” – Thiraphong Chansiri, CEO, Thai Union The group announced yesterday it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with V Foods (Thailand) Co., Ltd., The Thai producer of More Meat plant-based protein and V Farm plant-based food. Under the MoU, the two companies will utilise  Thai Union’s manufacturing facilities for the production of …


Kuleana tuna

Plant-based Tuna/ Image courtesy of Kuleana

Gastronomy & Food Service

Kuleana Forms Alliance With Poké Bar to Expand Vegan Tuna Across the US

Following a $6M seed investment, US seafood company Kuleana announces the official launch of its plant-based tuna in Poké Bar restaurants across North America. Based in San Francisco, Kuleana is a food technology company with a mission to recreate nutrient-rich, tasty and sustainable seafood from plants. Investors include Astanor Ventures, Y-Combinator GoodSeedVentures and Cruise founder Kyle Vogt and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian. Kuleana reports that the vegan tuna product is being served at several Michelin-rated restaurants throughout California, and is winning hundreds of blind taste tests in San Francisco and Los Angeles. “Our priority is to serve delicious, plant-based tuna that doesn’t sacrifice when it comes to environmental and social responsibility, and is, of course, an uncompromising dining experience,” says Jacek Prus, co-founder and CEO …


Finless Foods tuna

©Finless Foods

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

California’s Finless Foods Announces Launch of “Sushi Grade” Cell-Cultured Tuna

As the plant-based seafood industry is projected to grow 28% annually over the next decade, Finless Foods of Emeryville California has announced a new cell-based tuna offering, as well as a brand refresh and new website. “The feedback received from our culinary partners has been phenomenal, likening the flavor and texture to sushi-grade tuna.” Co-founded by Michael Selden and Brian Wyrwas, the company aims to distribute the tuna product widely to food service partners by next year, stating on a blog posted yesterday: “Where does Finless Foods fit into the plant-based landscape? Dead center! In our pursuit of cell-cultured tuna, plant ingredients play a key role in the development of the product. During our process, we developed a plant-based tuna product that is so good, …


OmniTuna OmniFoods

OmniTuna ©OmniFoods

Products & Launches

OmniFoods Reveals Full Range of “OmniSeafood” From Plant-Based Salmon & Tuna to Fillets & Burgers

Following the worldwide success of its OmniPork series, including OmniPork Mince, OmniPork Strip and OmniPork Luncheon, which are now available at over 40,000 points of sale, OmniFoods today announces the launch of OmniSeafood, comprising a full range of plant-based seafood products. “With today’s milestone launch of OmniSeafood, we believe it is a big leap forward to a real sea change.” This May, the Hong Kong based plant-based phenomenon, which provides its famous vegan SPAM to McDonald’s in China, announced the major news of an international price reduction of 22% across signature products OmniPork Mince and OmniPork Strip as well as a 17% drop for OmniPork Luncheon, also announcing it is ramping up production in Thailand, establishing a second production site in China’s Guangdong province, and …


Tuna Hoagies - Good Catch

© Good Catch

Studies & Numbers

What US Consumers Want in Alternative Seafood Products

A new survey conducted by GFI and Kelton Global showed that, in addition to excellent taste and texture, messaging about alternative seafood products’ environmental, health, and functional benefits can broaden their appeal among US consumers. Article written by Marika Azoff and reproduced with kind permission from the GFI, Read the full report here. There is an urgent and sizable need for new approaches to meet increasing global demand for seafood, and alternative seafood is well poised to meet that demand. However, as the alternative protein industry continues to grow, with plant-based retail sales reaching $7 billion in 2020, alternative seafood remains a significant white space. To date, little research has been conducted on consumer attitudes towards alternative seafood. To fill this gap, GFI partnered with consumer …


shrimp New Wave Foods

©New Wave Foods

Market & Trends

Plant-Based Seafood Market to Skyrocket, Increasing 13X to US$1.3 Billion in Next Decade

The market for alt seafood is set to explode. A brand new market report released in the wake of Seaspiracy finds that the global plant-based fish market is projected to surge at an impressive CAGR of around 28% from 2021 to 2031, to top a valuation of US$ 1.3 billion by 2031. Interestingly, the report finds that plant-based shrimp is to emerge as the most consumed type over coming years. Current producers of alternative shrimp include New Wave Foods, Thai Union, Shiok Meats (cell cultivated) and The Plant-Based Seafood Co., which has won awards for its coconut shrimp product. Currently, fish burger patties hold dominance in the market, according to the report, with fillets catching up imminently. Soy is the predominant source followed by wheat …


Tuna Hoagies - Good Catch

© Good Catch

Investments & Finance

Gathered Foods Secures $26.3M to “Propel Good Catch Plant-Based Seafood to the Forefront of the Industry”

Gathered Foods, producers of Good Catch plant-based seafood, announces it has secured $26.35 million in a B-2 bridge funding round. The company states that the fresh funding will further propel Good Catch plant-based seafood to the forefront of the industry, and extend its international retail footprint, beginning in Europe, and “dramatically increase the number of Good Catch products on the market.”


Vegan Zeastar

©Vegan Zeastar

Food & Beverage

Vegan Zeastar Expands Its Plant-Based Sushi into Spain After Success in Netherlands and UK

Sun-Rose Invest, based in Madrid, will be the new official distributor in the Spanish market for Vegan Zeastar‘s “Vegan Sashimi” and Vegan Zeastar’s “No Tuna” and “No Salmon”, as well as the Vegan Junkstar range of sauces. The Dutch producer also expanded into the UK in 2019 and last year debuted a vegan “cod” product offering a realistic fish and chips experience to consumers in the UK and Netherlands.


©willyam - stock.adobe.com

Sustainability / Environment

Special: Sustainable Fishing Won’t Save the Seas. Plant-Based Seafood Will.

Tomorrow will see the Netflix release of the documentary Seaspiracy, from the same creators of Cowspiracy. In recent years there has been growing public concern about the brutality to animals as well as the environmental impact caused by the livestock industry. However, concern for marine wildlife has been far less noticeable, and the fishing industry – which generates more than $160 billion a year – remains among the most lucrative in the world.