JBS-owned Vivera has revealed a new vegan salmon analogue that the company says mimics the flavour, fattiness and flaky texture of real salmon in response to a ‘lack of plant-based fish alternatives’ currently in circulation in the Netherlands. Sold in a pack of two, for €3.49, the Dutch brand claims that this makes it more cost-effective than conventional fish.
The plant salmon fillets were launched in Volendam, a Dutch fishing village. Seafood aficionados were served the plant-based alternative with the dish apparently gaining rave reviews. Vivera has highlighted that the fish market in its region is valued at €620 million, but little has been done to offer affordable and ethical alternatives.
Changing the narrative
Traditionally, alt-proteins have been priced higher than conventional meat. With the new development flipping that expectation on its head, Vivera has expressed interest in witnessing the impact pricing has on consumer uptick. The Netherlands is already a keen supporter of meat alternatives, so the market is already in place.
“The per capita consumption of meat alternatives is the highest in The Netherlands, but the population is of course much lower than in other countries,” Karin Löwik, international marketing manager at Vivera said in a statement. “So we think there is an internationally big potential for our new vegan salmon fillet. We wanted to find out how open-minded the people of Volendam were to changing their eating habits. And we were also curious to find out how they would appreciate the taste of our salmon. We were really happy with the good reactions.”
Made using wheat protein, the Vivera salmon fillets are not allergen-free but do have added Omega-3 to be comparable in nutritional terms to conventional fish. The fillets have been distributed throughout the Netherlands, via multiple supermarket chains including Albert Heijn and Jumbo.
Vivera was acquired by Brazilian meat giant JBS in April last year. It was part of a wider strategy to boost its plant-based platform and make inroads into the burgeoning meat-free sector.
The popularity of alternative seafood
With fish populations in decline but demand for seafood rising, a growing number of companies are looking to provide a solution. Some focus on plant-based alternatives while others are taking the cultivated route. Umami Meats falls into the latter category. The Singaporean startup has just scooped $2.4 million to continue R&D for its ‘cultivated, not caught’ lines. Funding will be used to continue driving down costs, ahead of soft launches and applications for regulatory approval. Singapore remains the only country in the world to have granted approval for any cultivated products.
Thailand’s Thai Union Group, one of the biggest seafood manufacturers in the world is hedging its bets. Looking to include plant-based lines in its portfolio, the company has alluded to future cultivated developments alongside. Given its size and influence, Thai Union investing in the cultivated sector could drive it forward quickly and at scale.
Last month, Chicago’s Aqua Cultured Foods unveiled its groundbreaking mycoprotein squid. Creating a texture identical to conventional squid, including the initial ‘snap’, the company also claims to have improved on the nutritional profile of animal-derived calamari. Commercial launch is predicted to occur later this year.
Also looking at plant-based salmon analogues, Plantish unveiled a teaser campaign for its visually identical vegan salmon fillet, in January. The Israeli startup claims its fillets compare to regular salmon across the board, particularly texture. Scale-up to commercial level will allow for a cost-effective offering to consumers but no launch date has been fully confirmed. 2024 is floated as the current aim.
Lead photo by Vivera.