2023: The Year of Vegan Sushi
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Another Veganuary has come to a close but the vegan options continue to roll in. And one category is set to see big growth this year: vegan sushi.
Supermarket sushi giant Kikka Sushi has announced vegan tuna and salmon sushi coming to Whole Foods Markets’ sushi counters, Konscious Foods comes to freezers, and restaurants go all-in on plant-based fish.
Vegan supermarket sushi
Kikka, a Whole Foods partner for more than 30 years, is using the vegetable root konjac in proprietary preparations to replicate the taste and texture of raw salmon and tuna. The launch is part of Kikka’s five-year mission to create vegan sushi offerings that mimic the taste and texture of conventional seafood. The sushi is rolling out to select locations nationwide.
Kikka’s launch comes on the heels of the November launch of Konscious Foods, a Vancouver-based vegan sushi brand coming to freezer sections. The company is the brainchild of Yves Potvin who launched the popular vegan brands Yves Veggie Cuisine and Gardein.
Konscious Foods marks the first time a sushi range comes to freezer sections. It will feature eight products including four sushi and four onigiri rolls for retail and food service.
“At Konscious, our chefs create plant-based seafood that people can choose over traditional options for their own health and the health of the planet,” Potvin said in a statement. “We saw a gap that wasn’t being filled. People want choices, regardless of whether that’s for meat or seafood. Here we match the delicious taste of plant-based sushi and onigiri with the convenience of ready-to-eat meals and snacks.”
Last month, Dutch-based Vegan Zeastar announced “the world’s first” range of vegan sushi and poke bowls, which it served up at a regional food service trade show. The range included palm-oil-free vegan nigiri, sashimi, uramaki, gunkan, handrolls, or poke bowls.
Plant-Based sushi restaurants
Vegan sushi isn’t just coming to supermarkets, though. Restaurants are increasing their options. Vegan sushi bar Kusaki in West Los Angeles is bringing the city its first plant-based omakase experience. Kusaki is offering a mix of appetizers, sashimi, nigiri, and hand rolls with plant-based salmon nigiri and a crispy garlic tuna carpaccio made from tapioca.
Jeffrey Best and Ken Jones, two longtime bar and restaurant operators, are also opening a vegan sushi restaurant, APB (All Plant Based), coming to West Hollywood. APB will be a vegan sushi bar with a menu by Niku Nashi.
Plant-based sushi offerings aren’t new to LA — Shojin in Little Tokyo and Culver City have been vegan destinations since 2008. And other sushi spots including Highland Park’s Ichijiku and Fiish in Culver City’s Platform mall offer a range of vegan items.
Asian-inspired Planta Queen recently opened in New York City near the Empire State Building. It offers a range of sushi items as well as other Asian dishes including bao, dumplings, and noodle dishes.