Good Catch joins booming plant-based seafood market
Good Catch Foods is the latest entrant in a growing pool of companies finding success by producing plant-based takes on popular seafood items.
The New York City, U.S.A.-based firm recently secured USD 8.7 million (EUR 7.5 million) in funding to start distributing its plant-based tuna pouches and other products.
"The relentless and indiscriminate killing of marine life is devastating ocean ecosystems," said Good Catch cofounders and co-CEOs Chris Kerr and Eric Schnell in a joint statement. "The only truly sustainable seafood is seafood that allows fish to remain in the ocean. It is abundantly clear that we need a new approach to seafood.”
Good Catch plans to begin rolling out its Fish-Free tuna pouches, sold in three flavors, in late November 2018, a company spokesperson told SeafoodSource.
The pouches are sold via online grocery outlets Thrive Market and Fresh Direct. Eventually, Good Catch plans to introduce a line of frozen plant-based seafood products: Crab-Free Cakes, Fish-Free Burgers, and Fish-Free Sliders, the spokesperson said.
Good Catch joins a rapidly-growing group of similarly-focused companies, including New York City-based Ocean Hugger Foods, which debuted its Ahimi, a tomato-based version of tuna sashimi, at Seafood Expo North America in Boston, Massachusetts, in March 2018. Ahimi is being marketed to the foodservice sector for use in sushi, nigiri, sashimi, ceviche, tartare, and poké. It is sold at Whole Foods’ stores and in the foodservice sector in the United States and Canada.
Sebastopol, California-based Sophie’s Kitchen, founded in 2010, helped blaze a trail in the sector. It was one of the first plant-based seafood sellers on the market with canned plant-based tuna as well as innovative frozen meals, such as “Seafood Jambalaya,” “Crab Cakes,” and “Lobster Mac and Cheese.”
The company’s products are made from Konjac, a yam popular in Asian diets. Konjac is high in dietary fiber, has very few calories, and study have shown it may mitigate the transport of cholesterol. Sophie’s Kitchen’s lines are available in both natural food stores such as Whole Foods Market as well as grocery chains including Albertsons.
However, Good Catch aims to differentiate the company’s products from other plant-based seafood offerings through a more authentic taste, Chris Kerr, co-CEO of Good Catch, told SeafoodSource.
“While I can’t speak directly about all other plant-based tuna products, as investors there’s a reason we chose to start from scratch with Good Catch,” Kerr said. “From a culinary standpoint, we felt very strongly we needed to go back to the drawing board, focusing on the flavor of the ocean - not just the taste of fish.”
Good Catch also put a lot of through into consumer experience, Kerr said.
“We wanted a high-protein, nutritious product that was shelf-stable and versatile,” Kerr added. “No one opens a can of tuna on an airplane, yet any one can tear open a pouch of Good Catch and add it directly to the top of a salad - and you have a delicious meal, with chef-designed protein at the center of it, even while sitting in the center seat of coach class on a flight over the Atlantic Ocean. That’s a unique proposition and one that is geared toward satisfying the consumer. That is our real goal.”
Several companies – including PHW Group, one of Europe's largest poultry producers – have invested in Good Catch via its Series A Funding round, according to a recent press release from the company.
"The equity investment in Good Catch is evidence of our forward-thinking strategy. Good Catch is consistent with our pursuit to provide the U.S. with sustainable, clean foods," PHW President Paul Wesjohann said in the release.
Nick Green, co-founder and co-CEO of Thrive Market – which itself has been successful in offering customers an online marketplace for organic ad non-GMO products – said he sees great promise in Good Catch’s products.
"The Good Catch team has built a truly world-class plant-based protein, an area where we're seeing massive growth and demand,” Green said. “We're incredibly excited to help bring Good Catch to market in 2018 and proud to call them the third investment out of Thrive Market Ventures.”