New Wave Food Faux Shrimp

The Lempert Report
January 28, 2016

We might just see a plant based shrimp take over the market after all.

Supermarket buyers have been loading their shelves for years with imitation proteins that often were placed there as a lower cost alternative. Cerium instead of crab, soy instead of deli meats and the like. But a new day has come, and while many of these imitation proteins have faded away into obscurity, consumers today are different. They understand the importance of protein and the more healthful and sustainable aspects of plant proteins, and then there is the rising costs of animal protein that for many causes sticker shock. New Wave Foods is developing a plant based shrimp, the most popular and consumed seafood here in the U.S., that they aim to have the same taste, texture and nutritional value. A key ingredient in the faux shrimp is algae - the food that shrimp actually consume which gives them their color and flavor. Not a new idea as there have been shrimp imitators for years, but they lacked the nutritionals that give shrimp its low fat and high protein benefits. 

This idea might have another advantage this time around as the concern about over-fishing and climate change continues to grow. In Maine, for example, their shrimp fishing industry hasn’t been able to catch shrimp due to low population since 2013. And with the repeal of country of origin labeling, many consumers will have added concern about buying their ship from areas unknown. With COOL they were able to discover the source and if certain geographies were unsustainable or had less than ideal sanitary condition, avoid buying them. We might just see a plant based shrimp take over the market after all.