AQUA Cultured Foods partners with Ginkgo Bioworks; Azuma Foods launches Future Fish analog product line

Future Fish packaging
Future Fish packaging | Photo courtesy of Ichiro Sugawara/LinkedIn
4 Min

SeafoodSource is closely following the plant-based and cell-based seafood alternatives market by compiling a regular round-up of updates from the sector.

- Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A-headquartered plant-based seafood company AQUA Cultured Foods announced a partnership with biotechnology research company Ginkgo Bioworks. The partnership aims to enhance AQUA Cultured Foods’ fermentation technology to create nutritious fish-free seafood products, the companies said.

AQUA Cultured Foods currently offers a tuna analog, scallop analog, and shrimp analog that stay fresh for up to six weeks, according to the company. 

"At AQUA, we're not trying to substitute seafood; we lean away from 'alternative' language,” AQUA Cultured Foods Chief Science Officer Stefan Baier told SeafoodSource. “The beauty of AQUA is that it can be paired with true seafood in the same dish or meal. We understand the gravity of concerns for our oceans and planet and want to be proactive in providing a solution, and our partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks will help us accelerate this goal."

The partnership is particularly beneficial, according to AQUA, because of Ginkgo’s expertise in synthetic biology and bioengineering.

“It's no secret that global seafood demand exceeds the ocean’s supply and pushes aquaculture options to the limits,” Ginkgo Bioworks Senior Director of Business Development Mervyn de Souza told SeafoodSource. “At Ginkgo, we’re excited about all the emerging alternative seafood solutions that can have a significant beneficial environmental impact while providing consumers with delicious options. The growing interest in these alternatives represents a fundamental shift in consumer preferences toward more sustainable food choices. With concerns about overfishing, ocean pollution, and the welfare of marine ecosystems at the forefront of public consciousness, there's a growing demand for options that alleviate these environmental pressures while still providing the sensory experience of seafood.”

- Japan-based food and beverage manufacturing company Azuma Foods launched its first "Future Fish" plant-based fish lineup under its Green Surf brand. The product line includes tuna, salmon, and squid analogs, according to Vegconomist.

The Green Surf seafood analogs are made from the root vegetable konjac and include salt, locust bean gum, trehalose, and flour to replicate the taste and appearance of real fish. 

“We aim to create a new era or next generation of seafood that does not use animal-derived ingredients,” the company said.

-Vancouver, Canada-based seafood company Konscious Foods, which specializes in plant-based products, won a handful of industry awards in 2024. 

Its latest haul of awards include the 2024 Nexty Award for Best Meat Alternative at Expo West, a 2024 FABI Award from the National Restaurant Association, the 2024 VegNews Best New Vegan Product Award at Expo West, and the 2024 Delicious Living Magazine’s Best Frozen/Refrigerated Food Award.

"Konscious Foods has quickly risen to the forefront of the plant-based food movement since launching at Expo West last year, going from a standstill to being available at over 4,500 locations nationwide. We are excited to further expand the delicious, nutritious options consumers can try," Konscious Foods President and Founder Yves Potvin said in a release.

Konscious Foods' offerings include four varieties of plant-based sushi, salmon block and poke cubes, tuna block and poke cubes, and four varieties of plant-forward onigiri.

"We have applied our learnings from creating sushi, onigiri, and poke to now add this line of new and creative options that can help people incorporate more vegetables into their diet without sacrificing flavor,” Potvin said. “We know the barriers to entry for plant-based food are taste, texture, price, and convenience. Our ongoing mission at Konscious Foods is to make eating our foods an easy choice – whether someone is vegan, plant-curious, or just interested in trying something new. We believe the future of food is better-for-you, better-for-the-world options."

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