Plant-based alternatives to fish and seafood are the future, not just in terms of nutrition, but also ecologically. One reason is that they appeal to younger consumers like Generation Z. According to Innova Market Insights, at 32 percent worldwide this is the largest population segment. It accordingly will have a major influence on consumer behaviour in the coming decades. For this target group, health and well-being are just as important as environmental and climate protection, animal welfare and social factors. Plant-based alternatives to fish and seafood thus not only offer new indulgence experiences for flexitarians, they also meet the demands of the rising generation. Environmental organisations already advise cutting back on consumption of ocean fish and seafood, due to overfishing. Microbiology is another factor. Due to the thermal processes in their manufacture, plant-based alternatives to smoked fish and sushi are microbiologically much safer than traditional fish products.
For this growth area, Planteneers has already developed various product ideas with which manufacturers can make alternatives to breaded fish, fish sticks, filets and more. For example, a plant-based alternative to salmon filet is in the pipeline. These plant-based solutions are based on a diverse range of protein texturates that give products a very fish-like, tender bite. Florian Bark, Product Manager Planteneers, explains: “The right choice of texturate is indispensable in order to get as close as possible to the animal product. Plant protein concentrates are also important in order to match the protein content of the final product to that of the original. In addition, we have a large portfolio of algae-based hydrocolloids that are perfect for making alternatives to fish and seafood.”
Among the company’s new products are fiildTex for alternatives to tuna pieces. With it, customers can use standard meat and fish production machinery to make alternative tuna that looks and tastes like canned tunafish, and can be used in many ways. Another innovation is fiildFish for alternatives to sushi-style raw fish and smoked products like smoked salmon. These plant-based products impress with typical fish structure and texture. But what makes them special is the flexible recipe – different fish alternatives can be created by adjusting the specific flavour and colour. The end products can be readily sliced and are also freeze-thaw stable. This makes them very well suited for convenience products.