Filipino Plant-Based Startup WTH Foods Introduces Microalgae-Based Vegan Seafood Products
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WTH Foods is expanding its presence in both the European and Southeast Asian markets with a new range of low-sodium, clean-label plant-based seafood products.
Known for its popular Umani brand of plant-based meat alternatives that launched earlier this year, the Philippines-based WTH Foods is now venturing into vegan seafood.
The company has taken a pioneering approach, using microalgae, for use in this new product line.
“We are working with the real microalgae biomass to make our products, and have
discovered that it gives that nice soft texture that consumers would expect in fish,” WTH
Foods Co-Founder and CEO Stephen Michael Co told FoodNavigator-Asia.
The company has successfully developed plant-based tuna and crabcakes using microalgae. Co says the superior nutritional value of the company’s plant-based tuna is more nutritious than conventional tuna.
“We have developed plant-based tuna and crabcakes at this point, and the tuna in particular
stands out because it is actually far superior in terms of nutritional value [compared to
regular tuna], being that there is no cholesterol, microplastic or heavy metal contamination,
but still carries the same amount of DHA and Omega-3 one would get from tuna,” Co said.
While WTH Foods primarily aims to target the European market with its seafood line, Co says that ensuring clean-label products is crucial to capture consumer interest.
“We still see Europe as the biggest market in terms of plant-based products, and plan to first
look at Central and Southern Europe for this, so places like Prague, Germany, Spain, Italy
where the more cosmopolitan cities are which are more receptive to shelf stable seafood,” he
“The products have purposely been made clean label with just five ingredients including the
microalgae and low sodium in order to increase the appeal in this market, which really places
a lot of importance on clean label products.
“We also are pushing for South East Asian flavours in order to differentiate ourselves from
what’s already out there in the market in Europe, perhaps Thai or Malaysian flavours in the
tuna, and then market these as handy options for pastas or pizza toppings or sandwiches
and so on,” Co said.
“We are looking for the right Asian market some of our seafood products and it’s still in the
market testing phase – what we are planning to do here is to use a different kind of plant
protein which might just lead to a bit of difference in the taste profile as well,” Co says/ “So while the products in Europe will be primarily pea-based, for ASEAN markets we believe
that soy is still a very acceptable source of protein – as such, we will be looking at launching
soy-based tuna in Southeast Asia and a more pea-based tuna for the European market.”