Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 54

Seafood: Plant-based
New player in the game
Aqua Cultured Foods announced in 2021 its plans to begin rolling out
plant-based seafood products in 2022.
That's still the plan, Chibe said. Aqua Cultured will test the waters first
with its calamari alternatives. Popcorn shrimp and whole-muscle cut
fish filets will follow later in the year.
Aqua Cultured will bring something new to the plant-based seafood
category, Chibe said.
Most plant-based seafood products are based on starches. This gives
it a mouthfeel, she said, that's somewhat similar to seafood, but it lacks
nutrients, mainly protein, that consumers expect
from a center-of-the-plate food.
Other companies use legume-based
ingredients like pea or soy protein isolates
to provide those nutrients. But that often
adds " off " flavors that have to be masked
with additives like sodium.
On top of that, both of those options,
Chibe said, are highly processed.
" We can avoid both of these issues
with fermentation-based seafood, "
she said. " It's a whole, unprocessed
mycoprotein with the nutritional value
consumers want, plus a realistic texture. And
it's very resource-efficient and affordable to produce. Think of it as
plant-based 2.0. "
Fortunately for newcomers to plant-based seafood, like Aqua Culture,
the category is still " very much a white space, " Chibe said.
There are no products Aqua Cultured is aware of, she said, that have
put texture, taste and nutrition together in the same product.
" We expect to be the first to deliver on all three. The bar is very, very
high for seafood alternatives, higher than other alt-proteins like burgers
or nuggets. "
Window for growth
The present-day retail market provides a window of growth for plantbased
seafood that could shrink when new, rival technologies enter the
picture, Chibe said.
" Cultured [or cell-based] seafood is still in its infancy, and likely a few
years away from hitting the market, especially considering regulatory
hurdles. So there's an opportunity for us to become established well in
advance of the commercial availability of cultured seafood. "
In that window of opportunity, companies like Aqua Cultured have a
great opportunity, Chibe said, to generate huge growth in the category.
" We believe that, ultimately, there will be more acceptance of seafood
alternatives than even plant-based meat or dairy products. There's a health
halo around seafood, even though it's loaded with microplastics, mercury,
antibiotics, PCBs, parasites, and of course a high risk of foodborne illness. "
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Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022

Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - Intro
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 1
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 2
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 3
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 4
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 5
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 6
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 7
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 8
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 9
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 10
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 11
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 12
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 13
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 14
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 15
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 16
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 17
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 18
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 19
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 20
Supermarket Perimeter - March 2022 - 21
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