NBA All-Star Chris Paul invests in Wicked Kitchen, John West tuna salad analog on sale in UK

House of Vegano Owner Thalia Tatham

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

-Thai Union subsidiary John West Foods has begun selling its plant-based tuna salad alternative in U.K., Vegconomist reported. The pouched vegan products, made with  wheat protein, couscous, lentils, and chickpeas and available in Harissa and Indian flavors, are available at Asda supermarkets starting at EUR 2.50 (USD 2.74). 

“John West Vegan Fish-Free Tuna is Thai Union’s first branded alternative protein product launch worldwide and [this is] therefore a major milestone for us,” Thai UnionEuropean Marine Protein Unit Director Jon Burton said in a press release.

- Stockholm, Sweden-based plant-based seafood alternatives maker Hooked Foods raised EUR 1 million (USD 1.1 million) in its latest funding round, Just Foods reported.  

“We are overwhelmed by the support we have received from our investors and the community, which clearly indicates the strong demand for our plant-based fish substitutes,” Hooked Foods CEO Tom Johansson said. “With the funding we have secured, we will continue to drive innovation and provide sustainable and delicious alternatives for fish lovers worldwide.”

The funding will allow Hooked Foods, which was founded in 2019, to enter the German market, Johansson said In 2022, the company’s revenue increased 180 percent to EUR 450,000 (USD 492,000).  Earlier this year, Hooked Foods raised EUR 600,000 (USD 657,000), and it previously raised EUR 5 million (USD 5.5 million) in venture financing from Oysterbay, Big Idea Ventures, Brightly, and others.

- Thalia Tatham has gone from a career as an emergency medical technician to opening the House of Vegano plant-based restaurant located in St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.A. Tatham opened the restaurant in 2022, and has recently launched an eggplant-based eel analog as a part of her company's vegan hand-rolled sushi offerings. Tatham's career shift came after she was diagnosed with lupus in 2007 and turned to plant-based alternatives as a protein alternative to manage the disease. 

"I just wanted to find something that would help alleviate some of the pain I was living with," Tatham said in a release. "Now I'm a vegan and a chef and a restaurant owner. It's been an amazing journey. Going vegan saved my life."

Tathan said she switched to a plant-based diet amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and opened the restaurant to sustainably “reshape sushi into something both healthy and sustainable."

"I wanted to make the transition to a plant-based diet, but without the sacrifice of taste, flavor and enjoyment," Tatham said in a press release. "I wouldn't be happy eating salad every meal the rest of my life. I wanted to create healthy food that wasn't bland or boring."

- National Basketball Association All-Star Chris Paul has joined the group of celebrity investors for plant-based foods company Wicked Kitchen. Paul was an original investor in alternative protein company Current Foods, which was acquired by Wicked Kitchen in May 2023.

Paul transitioned to a plant-based diet in 2019, and he credits the shift for improving his on-court numbers and overall efficiency. 

"It's really exciting to have more and more influential and inspiring people choosing to eat plant-based. By working together, we can continue to make massive change,” Wicked Kitchen CEO Pete Speranza said in a release. "With investors such as Chris Paul, our momentum as a global-impact brand is undeniable and we are uniquely positioned as more consumers and top-performers are recognizing the difference plant-based eating can have on their health and wellness. This helps make the demand for chef-crafted, craveable plant-based foods unstoppable."

Additional celebrity investors in Wicked Kitchen include Paris Hilton, Woody Harrelson, Lance Bass, and Shailene Woodley. 

- On 27 June, Sacramento, California, U.S.A-based sustainable protein and food technology venture capital fund Joyful Ventures announced it has closed USD 23 million (EUR 21 million) in new funding. 

"The future is full of world-changing sustainable protein companies whose founders face critical challenges in early stages," Joyful Ventures Co-Founder Blaine Vess said in a release.

Photo courtesy of House of Vegano


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