A new global association has launched to accelerate cleantech and foodtech solutions in the alternative seafood industry.
Future Ocean Foods (FOF), headquartered in Halifax, aims to support plant-based, fermented and cultivated foodtech solutions that are viable alternatives to seafood. FOF has launched with 35 member companies across 14 countries, including Canada, the United States, Singapore, and Australia. Of those 35 members, eight are Canadian foodtech companies.
“Alternative seafood offers us the opportunity to build a more delicious, nutritious, sustainable and ethical global food system.”
– Marissa Bronfman
According to a statement released by FOF Monday, the new group will work to increase product trials for alternative seafood products and deepen the market penetration of startups operating in this sector.
“This is an incredible moment in time for the future of food and our oceans,” Marissa Bronfman, founder and executive director of Future Ocean Foods, said in a statement. “Alternative seafood offers us the opportunity to build a more delicious, nutritious, sustainable and ethical global food system.”
One of the Canadian FOF member companies is Windsor, Nova Scotia-based Infusd Nutrition, which has developed a solution that allows fat-soluble micronutrients to become water-soluble ingredients. Founded this year, Infusd operates as the foodtech division of Earthli Plant-Powered Superfoods.
Another Canadian member company of FOF is Halifax-based Smallfood, which aims to help food and supplement companies create nutritious, vegan, sustainable food with its microbial ingredients. Founded in 2018, Smallfood claims it has discovered a unique microalgae that can produce ingredients abundant in protein and omega-3.
The global market for plant-based foods is projected to exceed $162 billion by 2030. Thus far, a handful of major players dominate market share: BeyondMeat ($450 million in market capitalization) and Impossible Foods (most recently valued at $7 billion).
Members of FOF focus on utilizing plant and cell-based methods to develop substitutes for various seafood products such as salmon fillets, sushi-grade tuna, smoked salmon, shrimp, crab, and calamari.
Currently, seafood consumption is at its highest levels, largely due to the growing preference for diets rich in protein and omega-3. This increasing demand is contributing to global issues like deforestation, climate change, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss.
The alternative seafood category, a younger segment of the plant-based food market, is expanding. FOF noted a 92 percent increase in invested capital in this sector from 2021 to 2022, and a 42 percent rise in US retail sales during a similar timeframe.
Canadian FOF member companies show a notable concentration in Atlantic Canada, which is unsurprising given the region is home to Canada’s Oceans Supercluster, which focuses on accelerating the development and commercialization of Canadian-made, ocean-based solutions. Earlier this month, the supercluster doled out $20 million to nine AI-based ocean projects, which came from the federal government’s Pan-Canadian AI Strategy.
But the geographic spread of FOF member companies is not limited to Atlantic Canada. The other Canadian members include:
Algarithm (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan): Produces plant-based, fish-free Omega-3 ingredients derived from micro-algae.
By2048 (Mont-Royal, Quebec): Creates plant-based seafood with a mission to “save the ocean” by the year 2048.
Konscious Foods (Vancouver, BC): Creates sushi-like food products made entirely from plants.
Mara (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia): has isolated a novel marine microalgal strain, from the shores of Atlantic Canada, that produces DHA-rich omega-3 fatty acids.
Save Da Sea (Victoria, British Columbia): A plant-based food that convincingly mimics the taste and texture of sushi.
Seed To Surf (Toronto, Ontario): A plant-based seafood company that uses whole vegetables and a clean ingredient deck to reimagine the seafood experience.
In addition to spotlighting its member companies at various industry events, FOF is also planning to host an event that will connect startups, investors, government groups, trade associations, and traditional seafood companies, as well as representatives from the retail, foodservice and grocery sectors.
Image source Unsplash. Photo by KerrDouglas.