Boldly Foods founder calls for evolution of plant-based seafood analogs; OmniFoods debuts in New York City restaurant

Boldly Foods founder Allen Zelden

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

-The inaugural Alternative Proteins Global (APG) conference took place in Sydney, Australia, on 31 August, hosting professionals across the Australian plant-based analog sector, and Boldly Foods CEO and Founder Allen Zelden (pictured) shared the challenges and opportunities the global plant-based seafood analog sector is facing. 

“Plant-based seafoods are still uncharted territory for millions of people, and with consumers increasingly seeking alternatives to conventional meat and dairy – coupled with the fact that seafood dishes are among the most popular in foodservice – I firmly believe that now is the time for the next evolution of plant-based seafood products,” Zelden told SeafoodSource. 

With the European and United States markets largely taking the lead in the plant-based seafood sector, Zelden said he feels strongly that Australia can be the next market that takes advantage of the buregeoning product category.

“Regardless of any market speed bumps and industry setbacks, Australia has established a powerful foundation for success as we move into this new, revolutionary phase for our sector thanks to continued record-breaking investment and innovation,” Zelden said. 

Zelden also said that in order to ensure success, Australian plant-based food analogs needed to “stretch beyond our shores.”

His presentation highlighted this fact and hoped to spur others into action by demonstrating the success of Boldy Foods' expansion to the U.S.

“In attending and supporting the inaugural APG event, it was my firm hope to ignite the energy of those in the Australian plant-based foods ecosystem in the face of recent industry uncertainty and challenges,” Zelden told SeafoodSource. “However, after meeting and speaking with so many business owners, government representatives, entrepreneurs, foodservice operators, executives, innovators, and those simply passionate about plant-based foods, it was clear to me that our category is very much ignited!”

- Plant-based seafood company OmniFoods announced the debut of its OMNI Golden Fillet at NeatBurger in New York City, New York, U.S.A. 

The restaurant will also offer Neat Fish and Chips, with a fish analog, and a Crispy Fish Sandwich, also featuring a fish analog. 

“The plant-based fish and chips exceeded all my expectations," Neat Burger Head of Food and Innovation Bruno Trebbi said in a release. "As a long-time seafood lover, I was skeptical about how closely it could replicate the taste and texture of traditional fish, but I was pleasantly surprised. The 'fish' had a flaky, tender texture that was remarkably similar to the real thing, and the crispy coating was perfectly seasoned. What's even better is that this dish is not only delicious but also environmentally friendly.”

-Ahrensburg, Germany-based custom systems solutions company Planteers received the Technology Innovation Award for its Plantbaser digital configuration product.

The award was announced at the 2023 Plant-Based World Expo, which took place from 11 to 12 September in New York City.

“Two and a half years of hard work paid off. It’s a great feeling to be rewarded this way,” Planteers Product Manager Florian Bark said in a release. “Our Plantbaser digital product configurator amazed visitors at the Plant-Based World Expo in New York.” 

-Rehovot, Israel-based cultured seafood company Wanda Fish Technologies announced it has raised a total of USD 10 million (EUR 9.4 million) in its seed funding round. The food tech startup worked in collaboration with Netherlands-based global aquaculture investment fund Aqua-Spark to secure the funding.

The new funds will be allocated toward scaling and creating a cultivated whole-cut blue tuna analog fillet.

“We are excited and feel incredibly fortunate to collaborate with Aqua-Spark in propelling our venture forward,” Wanda Fish CEO and Co-Founder Daphna Heffetz said in a release. “We are on a shared mission to improve the global food value chain, creating a tasty, more sustainable future for all. This financial backing by leading global venture funds gives us significant leverage to make sustainably cultivated, cruelty-free, and ocean-friendly bluefin tuna a reality.”

Wanda Fish Technologies also received funding from pre-seed investors including The Kitchen Hub, Peregrine Ventures, PICO Venture Partners, MOREVC, and CPT Capital.

“In such a burgeoning and innovative sector, we are pleased to welcome Wanda Fish into our portfolio of companies based on the remarkable speed with which they’ve met significant milestones,” Aqua-Spark CEO Lissy Smit said. “We firmly believe in a future where sustainably farmed and cultivated seafood will work in concert with one another to alleviate the burden of overfishing, especially [with] species like bluefin tuna which are deemed unsustainable to farm.”

Wanda Fish was founded in 2021 by Heffetz and the founders of The Kitchen Hub.

“As the startup’s incubator, we've had the privilege of witnessing the immense progress Wanda Fish has made since their inception less than two years ago,” The Kitchen Hub CEO Jonathan Berger said in a release. “Wanda Fish is transforming visionary ideas into a tangible, cutting-edge product that is just steps away from reaching its prototype. This is credited to a skilled and ambitious multinational team led by Daphna Heffetz that is undoubtedly poised for a resounding success story in the thriving alternative protein space; this spells good news for an overburdened marine ecosystem.”

Photo courtesy of Allen Zelden


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