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Hooked Foods, the Swedish startup developing plant-based seafood alternatives, has raised €3.8 million in a new financing round. The funds will fuel the brand’s ongoing R&D and launch of its plant-based salmon product, adding to its existing “Toonish” tuna analogue already on the Swedish market.
Hooked Foods has reeled in €3.8 million in a new funding round joined by Stockholm-based Brightly Ventures, German food tech investors Oyster Bay VC, and local celebrity singer Danny Saucedo. The Stockholm startup, which launched its first vegan tuna product in Swedish retail stores earlier this year, will be speeding up R&D and product expansion with the new funds.
The latest financing comes after Hooked bagged $600,000 in seed funding last year, which attracted a number of alt-protein investors including Oslo-based accelerator Katapult Ocean, ProVeg, Kale United and Veg Capital.
Launching vegan shredded salmon
Founded in 2019 by Emil Wasteson and Tom Johansson, Hooked’s range currently includes Toonish, a plant-based tuna alternative that is already available in Swedish retail chains and restaurants across the country. Made from soy, wheat protein, sunflower oil and algae, the alternative comes in three flavours.
With the fresh funds, Hooked says it will be speeding up product innovation ahead of launching its next product, a plant-based shredded salmon, which it claims will be the first of its kind on the market. The product, which was first revealed back in June last year, will be developed using wet extrusion technology and will also contain seaweed and algae oil to provide omega-3 fatty acids.
Commenting on the financing, co-founder and CEO Johansson said: “We’re very pleased that Brightly Ventures, Oyster Bay Venture Capital and artist Danny Saucedo want to join our journey towards a more sustainable marine ecosystem.”
“The funds will chiefly be used to further expand our presence in Sweden, scale up the team and accelerate product development.”
Alternative seafood investment
As awareness over overfishing and the plethora of environmental and social issues associated with commercial fishing grows, more investment has been pouring into the alternative seafood space.
The latest data, released by GFI earlier this month, showed that companies developing plant-based, cell-based and fermentation-derived alternatives to seafood had already raised $116 million within the first half of 2021, exceeding the total figure recorded in 2020.
Not only have more startups focusing on seafood alternatives grown over recent years, from cell-based fish makers likme BlueNalu and Finless Foods to fermentation-based Aqua Cultured Foods, which has debuted the world’s first whole-muscle cut vegan seafood from microbes, established food players are now banking on the sector too.
Nestlé, for instance, joined the alt-seafood industry last year with the launch of its plant-based tuna product under the Garden Gourmet brand. Asian food giants like Thai Union and Mitsubishi have instead backed BlueNalu’s cell-based technology with the hopes of commercialising the product in the Japanese and Thai markets in the coming years pending regulatory developments.
All images courtesy of Hooked Foods.