Plant-based seafood startup Novish has secured funding from QSR Platform SCA (QSRP), a major fast food platform that lists the Burger King franchise in four European markets and French tacos chain O’Tacos among its brands. The strategic investment will accelerate the roll-out of Novish’s line of plant-based fish products across QSRP subsidiaries NORDSEE, a European seafood chain and its sister-brand Go! Fish.
Novish, a Dutch plant-based brand that produces vegan-friendly fish burgers, bites, fillets, and fishsticks, has announced investment from fast food platform QSRP. The investment will see QSRP support the brand’s growth and innovation, as well as the launch of Novish’s range of plant-based seafood products across NORDSEE and Go! Fish, two prominent restaurant chains in the European market that are both operated by QSRP.
“The QSRP, NORDSEE and Novish teams have been working very closely to develop and fine-tune plant-based fish products suitable for our customers in our existing restaurants,” said QSRP in a press release. “[It] will provide NORDSEE and Go! Fish by NORDSEE the valuable opportunity of reaching next level competitive advantage.”
Since its founding in 2019, Novish has grown its portfolio of a range of breaded fish formats with its latest product tuna flakes, and says it plans on adding more seafood alternatives this year. Its products are primarily made from wheat protein, pea protein, oat fibre and sunflower oil, and are 100% plant-based, are soy-free and GMO-free.
The QSRP, NORDSEE and Novish teams have been working very closely to develop and fine-tune plant-based fish products suitable for our customers in our existing restaurants.QSRP
The move by the fast food group, which currently runs 1,000 restaurants across 7 European markets and services 100 million customers annually, to back a plant-based firm is a strong show of pressure that mainstream food industry players are now under to keep up with the coronavirus-driven rise in demand for animal-free foods.
But while the plant-based alternative meat sector continues to dominate the overall plant-based protein industry, there remains a huge opportunity to innovate in the nascent vegan seafood category, especially given the forecasted data suggesting that consumers are choosing to displace red meat for fish.
Novish isn’t alone in the challenge to fill the market gap when it comes to plant-based seafood offerings, with fellow Dutch company Schouten, one of the early pioneers of meatless proteins in Europe, also recently launching its first vegan tuna product after Swiss conglomerate Nestlé entered into the seafood alternative market with its tuna analogue last year.
Other European players include Swedish startup Hooked whose vegan “toona” is set to launch across Stockholm.
In the U.S., plant-based tuna maker Good Catch Foods has led the pack with backing from seafood majors like canned tuna giant Bumble Bee Foods and several celebrity investors, and surging sales has prompted the opening of a brand new 42,500 square foot facility to meet the demand.
Though yet to land on the market, cell-based fish products are also being watched by investors, with food tech BlueNalu having just closed US$60 million in convertible note financing, in what is the largest funding round to date for the global cultivated seafood industry.
All images courtesy of Novish.