The vegan food alternative market is massive. There are vegan cheeses, meats, and baked goods – you name it, it likely exists. There was seemingly only one product that, until now, has been missing from the vegan-friendly lineup: Fish and seafood. A recent development, however, is bringing vegan seafood into the spotlight. These are the new plant-based salmon fillets that look, cook, and taste like the real thing—and if you’re vegan, they could be a godsend.
Plant-Based Salmon: The Newest Product On The Vegan Market
Former fish and seafood-loving vegans rejoice: Vegan seafood is finally entering the market. The Toronto-based company New School Foods unveiled a plant-based salmon substitute that replicates the taste and feel of grilled filets that are completely animal product-free. Their plant-based salmon looks just like real salmon both raw and cooked, and it tastes great, too. (1)
The company says its product has the same flavor and texture as traditional salmon but without any of animal products. But CEO Chris Bryson says the goal isn’t only to appeal to vegan consumers. The idea is to make a product that is enticing to all consumers. This is why it was important for him to make a plant-based salmon that looked and felt like the real thing, both when raw and cooked. (2)
“What’s the consumer experience going to be at the shelf?” Bryson asked. “You don’t sample it first, you buy with your eyes. So if it doesn’t look like raw meat, and doesn’t look like the product you’re trying to substitute, we’re gonna have a problem. It’s only going to be the vegan audience that wants it.” (3)
What Is It Made Of?
Bryson explains that without the fibers of a natural fish product, what you’re making might as well be tofu. The idea was to make something that actually looked, felt, and tasted like you were eating a real salmon. To do so, they had to find a way to mimic the fibers of the real fish.
To do so, they made a base gel of seaweed-derived hydrocolloids. Next, they place this on an extremely cold surface, which they have chilled to below-freezing temperatures. They then put the gel and its colder base in a freezing chamber. This chamber is cold enough for the gel to freeze but still not quite as cold as the base surface itself. In this setup, the water in the gel freezes from the bottom up, in an arrangement of orderly and straight lines. This creates the fibers so that the fish has the same texture of raw salmon. When you cook it, it then flakes the same way, too.
“We felt that if we were able to prove out that this technology could address salmon, then it could almost inevitably be extended to all other applications out there,” Byron said.
Good For You And The Planet
According to the company’s website, vegan salmon provides the same amount of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. The product is also free of antibiotics and hormones, which can be found in traditional farmed salmon. The company says its vegan salmon uses a fraction of the land, water, and energy required to produce conventional seafood.
The product is also free of antibiotics and hormones, which can be found in traditional salmon. The company says their vegan salmon uses much less input, environmentally speaking, to create. No fear of over-fishing or worrying about the negatives of farm fishing. No fish were used for this product.
An Up-And-Coming Market
Vegan seafood is a growing market expected to be worth $1.6 billion within the next ten years, according to Euromonitor International’s report “Global Vegan Seafood Market: Trends & Opportunities.” The report found that the majority of consumers are looking for plant-based alternatives to seafood because they want to reduce their carbon footprint or have concerns about the health effects of eating too much seafood.
So if you were considering going vegan, but your love of fish was the one thing holding you back, then perhaps this is your moment. Even if you aren’t planning on changing to a vegan lifestyle, why not give plant-based salmon a chance? After all, if the nutritional profile is the same, but it’s better for the environment, what do you have to lose?
Keep Reading: People shocked after learning why Parmesan cheese isn’t vegetarian
- “New School Foods’ filet looks and tastes like salmon, but it’s actually plants.” Tech Crunch. Christine Hall. February 2, 2023.
- “WHOLE-CUT SEAFOOD, MADE FROM PLANTS.” New School Foods
- “How New School Foods uses new ideas to make raw plant-based salmon.” Food Dive. Megan Poinski. February 2, 2023.