Fish(ish) Startup Landscape

Erik Byrenius
Sep 25, 2020 · 3 min read
Legendary Vish’s 3D printed salmon.

To us, and probably to the general public as well, the developments of fish-free fish products have been overshadowed but the buzz around animal-free beef, chicken and pork with players such as plant-based Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, and lab-grown meat pioneers Memphis Meats, JUST, Mosa Meat and others.

During the last few weeks we’ve come across a surprisingly high number of animal-free seafood startups. We started asking around and realized that quite a lot is happening in the space, all over the world. To help people interested in the space, we thought it makes sense to share what we’ve found so far.

We list all innovative startups we’ve come across, except for a couple of companies still in stealth mode. Also, to limit the scope a bit, we here only cover startups focused on animal-free seafood and their brands, i.e. we exclude:

  • corporates, even though they’re working on products competing with some of these startups (e.g. Vuna, Nestlé’s plant-based tuna),
  • companies simply importing products for local rebranding,
  • general plant-based companies not focusing on seafood (but who may still have a few such products),
  • fish companies not mainly focusing on fish-free alternatives,
  • startups who folded or paused operations.

To give you a better overview, we’ve segmented them by geography and technology (very broadly defined as plant-based vs. cultivated).

In alphabetic order:

  • Avant Meats (Hong Kong) — targeting Chinese consumers with seafood delicacies produced from cultivated cells.
  • Betterfish (Germany) — canned tuna from macroalgae, from the team behind Nordic Oceanfruit.
  • BlueNalu (US) — growing fish meat and other seafood products in a lab, $25M funding.
  • Bluu Biosciences (Germany) — Europe’s first cultivated seafood company.
  • By2048 (Canada) — Smoked and poké salmon made from carrots.
  • Cell Ag Tech (Canada) — also trying to cultivate fish meat from stem cells.
  • Finless Foods (US) — with almost $4M in funding, trying to cultivate bluefin tuna.
  • Good Catch (US) — the perhaps most well-known alternative seafood startup with $45M in funding.
  • Hooked (Sweden) — developing plant-based shredded tuna, and salmon.
  • IMA (UK) — a vegan sushi company focusing on salmon sashimi.
  • Kuleana (US) — aiming at plant-based sushi-grade raw tuna.
  • Legendary Vish (Austria) — 3D printing of plant-based salmon.
  • LIKE Foods (China) — cultivated seafood (in stealth mode, but agreed to be named on this list).
  • Mimic Seafood (Spain) — using a special tomato species to create tuna.
  • New Wave Foods (US) — shrimp made from seaweed and other plants.
  • Novish (Netherlands) — focusing on coated fish products like sticks and burgers.
  • Ocean Hugger Foods (US) — plant-based salmon and tuna sushi, selling mainly through restaurants.
  • Odontella (France) — smoked salmon made from marine algae and microalgae.
  • Open Meals (Japan) — 3D printed plant-based sushi cubes.
  • Prime Roots (US) — first product is bacon but soon launching several plant-based seafood (formerly called Terramino Foods).
  • Save da Sea (Canada)— plant-based smoked salmon.
  • Shiok Meats (Singapore) — cultivated shrimp meat, $7M+ in funding.
  • Sophie’s Kitchen (US) — gourmet vegan mixed seafood, available in US supermarkets.
  • The Plant Based Seafood Co (US) — self-explanatory.
  • Tofuna Fysh (US) — tuna spread and sauces made from jackfruit and seaweed.
  • Vegan Zeastar (Netherlands) — a brand by Vegan XL, already on the market with plant-based tuna and salmon sashimi
  • Wild Type (US) — growing salmon in the lab with $16M funding.

Which other innovative startups did we miss?

Further Reading

If you want to dive further into the ocean of animal-free seafood, don’t miss:

Edit Nov. 20, 2020: Moved the By2048 logotype to the plant-based section in the graph. Thanks to Sonalie Figueiras at Green Queen for pointing out this mistake, and for reposting this article.

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