Fish-Free Tuna Is in the Can
Friday, March 31st, 2023 | 1950 Views
Food Tech Startup Vgarden Creates Fish-free, Clean-label, Flaky Canned Tuna Using Plant Protein
Gan Shmuel, Israel — Vgarden, Ltd., a food tech developer and manufacturer of plant-based alternatives, launches the game-changing vegan canned tuna. The 100% plant-derived product has the same appearance, texture, and flavour of the canned kitchen staple. The tuna analog is crafted to satisfy the appetites of the growing pool of sustainability-driven consumers by bringing to the table its creative response to the issue of the overfished and rapidly declining ocean populations of wild tuna.
“Tinned tuna has a very distinct flaky, yet moist and chewy texture, with a powerful fresh-from-the sea aroma,” explains Ilan Adut, CEO of Vgarden. “Our new tuna-like product is clean-label, scalable, affordable, and sustainable. But for our plant-based creation to serve as a true substitute, even beyond compellingly mimicking all of the sensory qualities, it also has to match tuna as much as possible in nutritional value.”
Following 12 months of experimentation with ingredients and processes to develop fish-free tuna, the start-up developed its winning plant-based tuna formula. The private-label product is already being rolled out in the retail and food service sectors. It is available in two packaging formats: pouches for chilled storage and actual cans to give the full authentic tuna experience and to facilitate convenient non-chilled storage.
Vgarden’s R&D mission was to develop fish-free tuna that can be tinned and sterilised at high temperatures with its full flavour and texture retained. The company has filed a patent for the formula and process.
What’s the Catch in this Fish-free Tuna?
Vgarden’s tuna analog is based on pea protein, with a total protein content of 11.2–14%, before and after filtration. It contains a short list of natural ingredients including fibres and sunflower oil. Being sourced outside the marine ecosystem, the start-up’s ‘fish-free’ tuna contains none of the toxic metals, microplastics, and other ocean pollutants. Its proprietary manufacturing process uses only minimal energy consumption and water, lifting the burden on marine life, bringing a highly sustainable and guilt-free seafood option to consumers.
“Aquaculture and the overfishing of this high-in-demand fish have had a devastating effect on their numbers to the point that it has put several species, such as the yellowfin and the Atlantic Bluefin, on the edge of extinction,” notes Tom Rothman, head of global sales at Vgarden. “This not only poses problems in terms of food security but also negatively impacts the delicate and fragile balance of the marine environment. Our fish-free tuna solution can help turn the tide on this ecocatastrophe and contribute to the restoration of the ocean’s wild tuna populations.”
Tuna Is the World’s Most Popular Fish
According to a UN report, tuna is the world’s most consumed fish. The global tuna fish market is projected to grow from USD 41.06 billion in 2022 to USD 49.70 billion in 2029. Canned tuna is a popular source of affordable protein that is convenient to store and requires no refrigeration. Europe and Asia are the leading buyers of canned tuna, with South America and the Middle East fast developing an appetite. Tuna’s popularity coincides with a major rise in ethically and ecologically motivated health-conscious consumers seeking plant-based seafood alternatives.
How Do You Like Your Fish-free Tuna?
Vgarden’s vegan tuna can be integrated into any traditional tuna-based recipe, such as tuna mayo sandwiches, salads, toasts, pastas, sushi, pizza, and more. The company is now setting its sights on the global alternative protein scene for penetrating its tuna analog. “Many food outlets are turning to our tuna analog to create a classic tuna niçoise salad or a tuna pasta that will give its discerning flexitarian customers the full experience of the real thing,” concludes Adut.
Vgarden is a leading developer and manufacturer of delicious plant-based, vegan foods. Established as Gan-Shmuel Health Industries (2017) Agricultural Cooperative Society Ltd., Vgarden’s team of experts develops and markets a comprehensive range of cheeses, spreads, pastries, and nuggets. All retail cheeses manufactured by Vgarden are non-GMO, and free of preservatives, lactose, gluten, trans fats, soy, and cholesterol. The company recently attained more than USD 15M in strategic initial funding by Leumi Partners to boost product development and international activity.
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