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UK plant-based meat startup Jack & Bry has unveiled what they claim is the world’s first unbreaded jackfruit fish fillet, in partnership with The Cornish Seaweed Company. According to the company, all other comparable products use a coating to contain the jackfruit flakes. The development has been hailed as the closest thing to real fish without any animals being used in the process.
Jack & Bry used its proprietary jackfruit flavouring and texture optimisation platform to create a realistic fish fillet. The Cornish Seaweed Company provided the final piece of the flavour puzzle with its award-winning seaweed. The final product is slated as a realistic alternative to fish fillets in terms of seafood taste, flaky composition and appearance.
Rolling out into UK-wide restaurants
Positive reviews of the fish analogue have included comparisons to haddock and rock in terms of realistic flakiness, but consumers can now make their own assessment. Both Lewis Hamilton’s Neat Burger chain and the Harbour Lights restaurant in Cornwall have signed on to use the jackfruit fish fillets. Early trials at both eateries have proven successful and paved the way for more restaurants to work with the product. Talks are in progress with potential U.K. distributors now.
“We’ve changed the minds of climate-conscious pizza eaters and burger lovers with our jackfruit pepperoni and gourmet jackfruit burgers; we now want to focus our efforts even further, beyond land and into the ocean with our world’s first jackfruit fish fillet,” Bryony Tinn-Disbury, founder and CEO of Jack & Bry said in a statement.
Fish is the latest meat to be replaced with jackfruit
The startup has been consistently looking for opportunities to remove animal meat from the food system. To date it has created mince, burgers, sausages, pepperoni and more, using jackfruit as the central ingredient. Last February, a £1.25 million seed funding round was successfully completed, to support future innovations, such as the new fish fillet.
At the time of the raise, Jack & Bry had a confirmed presence in all 450 U.K. and the Netherlands Papa John’s locations. Alongside, approximately 300 Sainsbury’s stocked items and the Vegan Kind was due to debut the range. Today, the startup can count Zizzi, Prezzo, Pizza Express and Ocado as food service partners. In 2021, it sold more than 50 million jackfruit pepperoni slices.
Jackfruit as a sustainable meat alternative
Jack & Bry is not alone in identifying the commercial potential of jackfruit. In terms of environmental impact, growing the fruit presents little in the way of problematic consequences. Trees do not require irrigation, nor any pesticides or fertilisers. As a crop, jackfruit can be grown with others, to create a regenerative eco-system, much like squash and legumes. It is considered environmentally superior to other popular meat alternative crops, such as soy.
Jackfruit is versatile. When young and unripe, the flesh takes on a tropical flavour, but when fully developed, is neutral enough to act as a blank canvas for seasoning, while maintaining its shredded texture. In the early days of vegan meat substitutes, it was commonly used in place of pulled pork but now, it is processed to recreate multiple meat products.
In March, Singaporean jackfruit startup Karana announced it was moving into the U.S.market. It follows successful product adoption throughout Singapore and Hong Kong. Three San Francisco restaurants confirmed they were adding the whole food plant-based meat alternative to their menus.
Taking a different tack, Malaysian startup Nanka unveiled its hybrid jackfruit and meat burger patties last year. Alongside its hybrid developments is a 100 percent vegan patty, that the company claims meat eaters will be more likely to try after sampling a blended version.
Lead photo by Jack & Bry.