SPAIN - Plant-Based Fish Rattling Seafood Industry

Arno Froese

The Madrid-based startup’s Tunato product, fabricated from a specialty tomato variety grown in southern Spain that resembles sliced sushi-grade tuna in shape and size, is part of a growing class of food innovations fighting for the last empty shelf in the booming plant-based protein market: seafood.

The potential market could be huge: Beyond vegans and flexitarians, faux fish might also be a welcome addition to, say, a pregnant woman avoiding high-mercury swordfish or a consumer with a shellfish allergy. And big corporations have taken notice.

In Thailand in March, Thai Union Group PCL, which owns the Chicken of the Sea brand, introduced its plant-based line OMG Meat, including crab cakes and fish burgers, with plans for a vegan shrimp later this year. Nestle SA’s nonfish tuna is available in parts of Europe, while Swedish retailer Ikea sells vegan caviar, derived from kelp seaweed.

French foodmaker Odontella SAS sells a plant-based smoked salmon made from algae and pea protein in specialty supermarkets across Europe. The product is a long way from its origins as a 2007 experiment in co-founder Alain Guillou’s kitchen. It tastes very close to the real thing, though the price is heftier.

The key to price parity will be scaling up production and tapping more markets. “When that happens, you know the mega tipping point is here,” says David Yeung, founder and CEO of OmniFoods, a Hong Kong-based foodtech known for its vegan pork that’s been expanding into seafood. “I truly believe this is a matter of two to three years.”

Spain’s Mimic is banking on that. Although it halted distribution of its tomato-based tuna when Covid-19 lockdowns hit, it plans to resume sales in several Spanish cities by the end of the year, eventually expanding into Denmark. The startup has visions of becoming “the Oatly of seafood,” giving the traditional protein market a run for its money as nut and oat milks did for cow’s milk., 4 August 2021

Arno's Commentary

When reading excerpts from this article and countless others, appearing daily on news websites, we are compelled to ask: what next? For one thing, “Give us this day our daily bread” is in the process of being outmoded. While mankind still relies on traditional agriculture for food, be it on land or sea, a change is being observed from the many progressive reports. Typing the question, “How much food is grown by irrigation globally?” into a search engine gives us the answer, “Irrigation provides approximately 40% of the world’s food.” 

How about seafood? Global production of fish and seafood has quadrupled over the past 50 years, says Capture fisheries, the source states, produce about 90 million tons, while aquaculture has shot past the 100-million-ton mark.

This is just further confirmation of man’s ingenuity; giving him a booster shot of self-reliance, independent from God the Creator. Here Mark 8:36-37 asks two questions: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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