Red Lobster CEO calls plant-based seafood “terrible”
Many large restaurant chains are adding plant-based options – particularly vegan or vegetarian burgers – but Red Lobster has no such plans to add any such alternatives to its menu.
“Yes, we have looked into plant-based seafood – it was terrible. And no, we’re not introducing it,” Red Lobster CEO Kim Lopdrup told CNBC.
Real seafood is healthier than plant-based seafood analogs, Lopdrup contends. And, as one of the largest seafood restaurant chains in North America with more than 700 locations, Red Lobster’s purchasing decisions have a major impact on seafood suppliers.
“We believe we’re already offering something that’s more healthy than these plant-based foods,” Lopdrup told CNBC. For example, Red Lobster recently launched a Summer Power Bowl with quinoa rice, edamame, berries, almonds, and choice of fish.
Red Lobster is also heavily promoting its Crabfest offerings this summer. Featured entrees include: Ultimate Crabfest Trio, which features king, bairdi, and Dungeness crab legs; Crabfest Surf and Turf; Crab Imperial and Crab-Topped Salmon or Crab-Topped Shrimp; and Crabfest Mixed Grill.
Lopdrup referred to a Harvard study from 2006, which reviewed evidence for major health effects of omega-3 fatty acids, major health risks of mercury, and major health risks of PCBs and dioxins in both adults and infants and young children. The study found that the benefits of eating a modest amount of fish per week – around three ounces of farmed salmon or six ounces of mackerel – reduced the risk of death from coronary heart disease (CHD) by 36 percent. They also found that intake of fish or fish oil reduces total mortality – deaths from any causes – by 17 percent.
Dietitians have also criticized the high amount of sodium and saturated fat in some plant-based burgers.
Lodrup declined SeafoodSource's request for comment further on the issue of plant-based seafood analogs.
Image courtesy of Red Lobster