Gathered Foods nabs Copper Branch partnership as seafood analogs continue to gain popularity
There were record investments in the U.S. plant-based seafood analog sector in the first half of 2021, according to new data from the Good Food Institute, the trade group representing the industry.
Investments in plant-based, cellular, and fermented seafood products totaled USD 116 million (EUR 99 million) of invested capital in the first half of this year, GFI said in its newly published “State of the Industry Report: Alternative Seafood.”
GFI also found that retail plant-based seafood sales could grow by USD 221 million (EUR 187 million) if the category is able to capture the same share of the seafood market that plant-based meat has of the meat market.
“Because a large percentage (65 percent) of seafood sales in the U.S. occur in foodservice, this opportunity is an underestimate of the total market opportunity, which is likely much greater,” GFI said.
Las Vegas, Nevada-based Sophie’s Kitchen is the latest plant-based analog supplier to garner funding, announcing that it secured a USD 5.6 million (EUR 4.8 million) investment to grow its brand and product innovation. The investment in the company, which has been producing plant-based seafood analogs since 2010, was led by Billy Goat Brands, a publicly-listed venture capital platform with a focus on the blue economy.
“We at Sophie's Kitchen believe in the same mission: to save lives and protect the planet, one meal at a time," Sophie’s Kitchen CEO Miles Woodruff said in a press release. "The best way to achieve this goal is to create plant-based foods craved by vegans and meat-lovers alike, while making our products accessible to consumers so they can also join our mission for change.”
The latest plant-based analog/foodservice tie-in is from Gathered Foods, which markets Good Catch in the U.S. and Swell-Catch plant-based seafood analog products in Canada.
Swell Catch is partnering with plant-based Canadian restaurant chain Copper Branch. For a limited time, Copper Branch will be adding two new plant-based seafood items to its menu featuring Swell Catch Plant-Based New England-Style Crab Cakes.
Swell Catch’s new Crab Cake Burger features a Swell Catch Plant-Based New England Style Crab Cake patty with lettuce, tomato, and a creamy aioli sauce, while its Crab Cake Appetizer includes four plant-based analog New England-Style Crab Cakes served on a bed of greens with garlic aioli sauce.
"As we execute our mission to offer delicious plant-based food while making a difference in the world, we are constantly seeking partners who align to this mission,” Copper Branch CEO Trish Paterson said in a press release. “Swell Catch and Copper Branch share similar values and we are thrilled to launch our gourmet crab cake burger with them. Together, we collaborated on the perfect recipe and can't wait to introduce it to our customers.”
The Swell Catch proprietary blend of peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans and navy beans “perfectly deliver the rich flavor and delicate texture of seafood,” Swell Catch said.
Separately, Anaheim, California-based Atlantic Natural Foods is debuting its newly reformulated TUNO seafood alternative varieties, as well as refreshed packaging for its complete line of shelf-stable, plant-based Loma Linda Meal Starters and Solutions, at Natural Products Expo East 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The trade show runs from 22 to 25 September.
"We have addressed this increasing demand by working to improve the balance of flakiness and density for our TUNO varieties, further enabling us to work toward our goal of providing healthy, affordable, and tasty protein alternatives on a global scale,” ANF Founder and Chairman Doug Hines said in a press release.
The recent reformulation of the protein-rich TUNO varieties aims to provide an experience closer to that of conventional tuna, yet offering plant-based ingredients and omega-3s, ANF said.
“The new varieties feature a more perfected texture, which incorporates seaweed and DHA algal oil to capture the distinctive tuna-like flavor,” the company said.
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