“Salmon is the most popular fish, and it’s a good place to start because people, especially in the American market, have a craving for it,” plantedCo-founder and CEO Ofek Ron, Ph.D., told FoodNavigator-USA.
“It’s also a fish that has a very good chance of extinction,” He said.
Per capita seafood consumption in the United States was 19.2 pounds per person in 2019, up slightly from 19.0 pounds in 2018, according to the a reportReleased by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in May 2021.
Atlantic salmon was the leading species in marine aquaculture, producing an estimated 36.4 million pounds, worth $66.5 million, in 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noted in its report.
Although many salmon species are not on the verge of extinction, they are subject to overfishing (when a particular fish stock exceeds the permitted rate of exploitation for a particular geographic area). In 2018, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) decided that five stocks of Pacific salmon are now being considered. “Overfishing”and another “Vulnerable to overfishing”.
“We exist to save the oceans and eliminate the need to consume marine animals by providing a more sustainable, nutritious and delicious fish option,”Note Ron.
“Impossible Seafood”: the development of whole-cut vegetarian salmon
Developing a vegan version of salmon that looks, smells, tastes and cooks just like salmon but is made with plant-based ingredients is a promising solution not only to the environmental issue of overfishing, but filling an obvious market gap, Ron said.
“Most companies treat seafood alternatives in the ground beef category (such as burgers and pies),”He said, noting that the company also wanted to meet consumers where they were, as the top way to consume salmon was in the form of whole, sliced fillets.
“We try to create the impossible foods for seafood, and to do that, it can’t be a burger company, it has to be [whole-cut] salmon,”Ron said.
According to label research firm IMARC Group, nearly 80% of fish is consumed whole, in the form of whole fish or fillets. However, the alternative seafood sector consists mainly of minced fish options, due to the technical complexities of the entire production of the pieces.
Using a blend of leguminous proteins, vegetable fats such as algae oil and other binders, Ron and Blanche’s team of serial entrepreneurs and Ph.D.s in bioengineering and chemistry, including Eyal Briller, former director of products at Impossible Foods, spent half a year developing the product. Vegan Whole Cut and made the first Vegetarian Whole Cut Salmon on the market.
The team of experts was able to create the right blend of plant proteins to achieve fibrous strands aimed at replicating the complex tissue of animal muscle and capturing the experience of eating salmon.
The current Plantish prototype can be cooked in all the ways that traditional salmon is prepared.
Nutritionally, Ron added, vegetarian salmon fillets are on par with conventional salmon in terms of protein, healthy fat content (omega-3 and omega-6), and B vitamins, but without the mercury, antibiotics, hormones, microplastics, and toxins found in some fish. from the ocean.
Before going into retail, Ron shared that the company will target foodservice, including partnering with Michelin chef Jose Andres to offer vegan salmon fillets on the menu at select restaurants by the end of the year.
Plantish and its operations are currently incorporated into its plant in Israel where the company has developed components and equipment to produce the salmon substitute.
The 6-month-old company is developing a patent-pending, versatile additive manufacturing technology that will produce low-cost, plant-based fish alternatives on a large scale.
“When you control the machine and the components together, the sky is the limit to produce what you want,”Ron, who added that the company is currently in the process of upgrading to the commercial level.