New Wave Foods ceases operations; Finless Foods allegedly initiates fresh set of layoffs

New wave sampling

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

- San Francisco, California, U.S.A-based seafood analog company New Wave Foods has ceased operations.

After closing its doors in November 2023, New Wave Foods has entered into assignments for the benefit of credits, pursuing this path as an alternative to bankruptcy proceedings, according to AG Funder News.

The company raised USD 18 million (EUR 16.7 million) in series A funding in January 2021 and has been unable to pay its debts in full since.

New Wave Foods is “indebted to various creditors and is unable to pay its debts in full. It has decided to discontinue its business and believes that transferring its property to an assignee for the benefit of creditors is in the best interest of its creditors and stockholders,” according to the related general assigned document.

Although we were gaining momentum in 2023 and had secured a major customer for 2024 sales, we couldn’t outrun industry headwinds,” New Wave Foods Co-Founder and CEO Michelle Wolf said. “Our focus has been on healthy business fundamentals since I became CEO in late 2021, and I’m proud of what we achieved. I believe New Wave has been one of the stepping stones toward more sustainable eating – whether by delighting diners, inspiring competitors, or advancing plant-based innovation. I continue to have faith in the industry’s long-term success, but the environment we’re in will continue to push companies to prioritize like we did and explore innovation horizons.”

New Wave Foods began offering its plant-based shrimp analog to restaurant chains and commercial foodservice operators in 2021.

In a 2021 Series A financing round, New Wave Foods netted funding from Tyson Ventures – the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, Inc. – which first invested in the company In 2019, along with New Enterprise Associates and Evolution VC Partners.

- Emeryville, California, U.S.A.-based cultivated seafood company Finless Foods has allegedly experienced a recent set of layoffs as its funding has dried up. 

The cultivated seafood company originally laid off a number of its staff in April 2023, according to AG Funder News, and terminated its Washington D.C., U.S.A.-based lobby firm Esp Advisors.

Multiple former Finless Foods employees recently added the "opentowork" banner to their LinkedIn profiles starting in January and shared posts expressing interest in job opportunities, suggesting the company has engaged in a fresh round of layoffs. 

In March 2022, the startup closed a USD 34 million (EUR 32 million) Series B fundraising round, with the proceeds going toward a pilot plant for producing cell-cultured bluefin tuna. Soon after the funding round, the company launched a plant-based poke-style tuna analog at the National Restaurant Association trade show – an event Finless Foods Chief Strategy Officer Shannon Consentino-Roush told SeafoodSource was a big milestone for the company.

Since that launch, Consentino-Roush said that Finless Foods had undergone “rapid expansion” as distributors began to pick up the product for sale.

“Everything from expanding distribution in specialty or regional distributors to having more conversations with other larger distributors to having products actually being taken in by operators,” Consentino-Roush said.

Numerous U.S. colleges also started including the company’s plant-based tuna analog at campus dining halls, and students have reacted positively to their campuses carrying the products, she said.

“I think students want there to be healthier options and not just the burger, the fries, and the chicken nuggets that we all grew up with,” Consentino-Roush said. “Stanford and Notre Dame have taken in our product, and it’s been great to see the positive feedback from students. Something like 95 percent of the students are saying they want to see this in their campus dining hall.”

Nevertheless, the difficulty in attaining capital has led to the company allegedly reducing its headcount.

- Paris, France-based alternative food company OLALA has partnered with Scandinavian consumer brand and design company Everland to increase consumer interest in its seafood analogs.

The partnership will focus on defining and designing brand positioning, communication platforms, and activations, according to Creative Boom.

"We want to make waves," OLALA CEO and Co-Founder Simon Ferniot said. "We're here to challenge the market but do it sustainably. Everland helped build a platform for breaking through the ordinary and creating lasting change for the better."

OLALA has six products in its portfolio, including its salmon analog "Salmonderful," tuna analog "Tunalicious," and Greek tarama analog "Toramazing." 

"OLALA is about taste in more than one way," Everland Creative Director and Partner Carl Larsson said. "It's about the craft, creativity, and a mouth-watering sensation steaming on your plate. It's understated confidence – verbally and visually; it's what's needed to make change happen."

Photo courtesy of Finless Foods 


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