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Will plant-based fish be the next big growth area?

1.5 min read
AUTHOR: Matt Ridout

With Impossible Foods developing their plant-based fish alternative, will the seafood alternative space see the next surge of new product development to meet growing consumer demand?

The growth in plant-based food is unstoppable, with new product launches hard to keep track of due to how quickly they’re appearing in order to meet consumer demand. The Covid-19 pandemic seems like it will accelerate the trend, as more people take account of their impact on the world and its environment.

While there have been plant-based options for all manner of meats, the one sector that has missed out is the seafood-alternative space, but that’s about to change according to expert analysts.

Getting tastes and textures right

One of the reasons that there have been so few alternatives to seafood are the flavours and textures that we associate with the experience of eating fish.

“Fish come in such a variety of delicate flavours and textures, and to be able to mimic a variety of fish and then even cross into seafood … that’s really important to be able to kind of move across species and not be sort-of a one-trick pony in this space,” said Lauren Jupiter, managing partner at AccelFoods, a food and beverage industry venture capital firm.

Despite these challenges, especially compared to creating alternatives to beef or chicken, the potential environmental benefits are great.

Alyssa Plese, a member of UC Berkeley’s Alternative Meats Lab, said, “They say that there’s no such thing as sustainable seafood, so that’s a really compelling reason why a lot of people are pursuing this.”

With industry giants like Impossible Foods and Nestlé working on seafood alternatives, the plant-based fish space looks set to see huge innovation and development over the course of the next year. Will it be enough to convince people to ditch their traditional fish and chips in favour of tofish and chips?