Thai Union, Chicken of the Sea partner with The ISH Food plant-based seafood brand

Published on
August 26, 2022
Thai Union and its subsidiary Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods are forming a partnership with U.S. company The ISH Food

Thai Union and its subsidiary Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods are forming a partnership with U.S. company The ISH Food Co. to market plant-based seafood products.

In a press release, The Ish Food Co. said it hoped to capitalize on the marketing and distribution channels of Thai Union and Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods to advance sales of its plant-based seafood analogs, lead by its Shrimpish brand.

"Our corporate venture business arm has been working closely with innovative alternative protein start-ups as we increase our attention and investment in sustainable seafood alternatives," Thai Union Managing Director for Alternative Proteins Maarten Geraets said. "As the number-one distributor of frozen shrimp and pasteurized crab meat in North America, we have expansive expertise in the seafood category that we are eager to leverage in this new market."

The expansion into plant-based seafood products is part of Thai Union’s effort to realize its sustainability commitments via its Sea Change strategy, according to Geraets. Thai Union also named growing demand for plant-based products as a reason for the partnership, citing a recent survey jointly conducted by Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods and market research consultancy Wakefield Research showed grocery and foodservice executives and buyers have received more requests for alternative seafood in 2022, with plant-based products accounting for 35 percent of the requests and lab-grown food accounting for 31 percent of all requests.

“With a growing consumer desire for alternative seafood products, this alliance was the logical next step, as the category works to provide increased access to those looking for innovative seafood solutions and great-tasting alternatives,” Thai Union said.

The ISH Food Company was established in 2020 to provide to the market with sustainable foods, beginning with plant-based seafood. Earlier this year, the company launched its Shrimpish, a plant-based product that “from the first bite, it’s just like shrimp," according to its marketing materials. It is currently available at some U.S. colleges and restaurants. ISH Food plans to introduce more products, including Salmonish, Codish, Crabish, Lobsterish, and otherseafood analog products.

"Consumer demand for healthy, nutritious, and sustainable food sources is accelerating as individuals increasingly make the connection between the food they eat and the climate crisis. Our plant-based seafood is crafted with environmental impact top of mind, delivering on taste, texture, nutrition, and planetary health. We're grateful for this partnership with Thai Union and Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods as we work together to help transform food and agriculture into a regenerative, nutritious, and healthy system," ISH Founder and CEO Bernard David said.

Tuna giant Thai Union has set its sights on deepening its involvement in the plant-based seafood analog movement, with a view to becoming a leader in the sector. The company recently finished construction on the THB 300 million (USD 8.33 million, EUR 8.36 million) Bangkok, Thailand-based Global Innovation Center, where it plans to scale up plant-based seafood research and development capacity.

In January 2021, Thai Union invested in BlueNalu, a cellular aquaculture producer start-up out of San Diego, California, U.S.A. In April 2021, BlueNalu also signed two different memorandums of understanding with Mitsubishi Corporation and Thai Union, which BlueNalu said have expertise in market research, regulatory affairs, product design and development, manufacturing, and sales and distribution to accelerate its roll-out of cell-cultured seafood products.

Photo courtesy of Thai Union

Contributing Editor reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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