Gathered Foods, the parent company of plant-based seafood food tech Good Catch Foods, has just announced the opening of its new 42,500 square foot facility in the U.S. state of Ohio. The new manufacturing plant will produce the brand’s vegan fish-free tuna, crab cakes, fish cakes and fish burgers and will position the brand for future product expansion to meet rising consumer demand for plant-based alternatives.
After three years of build-out, Gathered Foods has announced that its manufacturing factory in Ohio is in full operation. The massive 42,500 square foot facility in an industrial park in the city of Heath was constructed specifically for the manufacturing of Good Catch Foods’ range of vegan products and was opened amid the pandemic in order to meet the company’s production needs.
Founded in 2016, the Pennsylvania-based food tech uses its proprietary blend of peas, chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, fava beans and navy beans as well as seaweed and algae extracts to develop its line of 100% plant-based tuna products, which include fish-free tuna pouches, plant-based crab cakes, Thai-style fish cakes and classic vegan fish burgers.
“We are incredibly proud to establish a strong manufacturing footprint in the U.S. as we grow our product portfolio,” said Christine Mei, Gathered Foods’ newly appointed CEO.
“With Good Catch’s rapid expansion and the launch of our new line of frozen plant-based entrées and appetisers, having our own production facility enables us to optimise productivity and efficiency. We are fully committed to delivering high-quality, plant-based seafood products which delight and satisfy our consumers each and every time.”
For now, around 30 employees work at the facility, but this will later increase to around 80 workers in the future. Chris Kerr, the executive chair of Gathered Foods, estimates that the factory has a manufacturing capacity of around US$100 million in revenue annually.
With Good Catch’s rapid expansion and the launch of our new line of frozen plant-based entrées and appetisers, having our own production facility enables us to optimise productivity and efficiency.Christine Mei, CEO of Gathered Foods
The news comes after the food tech raised additional capital from a number of celebrity investors, including Woody Harrelson, Shailene Woodley, Paris Hilton and Lance Bass, which followed on from its previous funding round that drew in big corporate names such as General Mills.
Good Catch Foods also recently entered into a partnership with canned tuna giant Bumble Bee Foods, no doubt as a part of its strategy to expand its international distribution to markets in Asia and Europe. Currently, the brand’s products are available in around 4,500 retail outlets in the U.S. and U.K., but consumer demand has been rapidly growing across the world as consumers become more aware of the health, sustainability and safety advantages of plant-based analogues.
On top of existing concerns over the environmental and health impacts of conventional seafood farming, the industry is also at risk of shortages due to rising disease outbreaks in cramped aquaculture pens. Most recently, shrimp farms in China have recorded the spread of Div1 virus, a disease that can decimate shrimp populations within days in yet another blow to global food security amid the coronavirus crisis.
All images courtesy of Good Catch Foods.