Alternative seafood sector hits record $ 116 million in first half of 2021
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New data shows record funding is pouring into the alternative seafood sector, as concerns grow over the impact of the seafood industry on the environment and fish. human rights. In the first half of 2021 alone, companies developing plant, cell and fermentation-derived alternatives to seafood raised $ 116 million, exceeding the total figure recorded in 2020.
According to a new state of the industry report released by the Good Food Institute (GFI), the alternative seafood industry attracted more funding in the first 6 months of 2021 than in the whole year in 2020. Collectively, startups using plant-based products, cultivation and fermentation technologies to develop alternative seafood have raised $ 116 million through June 2021.
Growth of the alternative seafood sector
While the entire alternative protein industry has grown dramatically, with funding tripling to $ 3.1 billion globally in 2020 and plant-based retail sales in the United States surpassing 7 billion dollars for the first time, GFI’s latest report on the alternative seafood industry shows “promising” signs for the booming sector.
Of the $ 116 million invested in alternative seafood startups in the first half of 2021, the bulk of the funding, which was spread over seven leaked deals, went to plant-based companies. There were 10 total deals in the industry, with 3 undisclosed deal sizes.
Plant-based players who secured significant funding included Gathered Foods, makers of the plant-based tuna brand Good Catch, New Wave Foods, as well as Revo Foods and Kuleana. Cell-based players have also seen strong investment rounds, including BlueNalu, which pocketed $ 60 million in the biggest round in the farmed fish industry to date.
Other cultivated seafood startups that have attracted significant funding include Avant Meats from Hong Kong, Shiok Meats, the Singapore startup that recently launched the world’s first farmed crab, Cultured Decadence, Finless Foods and Wildtype, based in the United States.
23% increase in sales of alternative seafood
In addition to raising record funds in 2021, the alternative seafood space has seen its sales skyrocket, with US sales data from January 2020 to December 2020 showing a 23% increase to 12. millions of dollars. Currently, alternative seafood in the market is dominated by plant-based players, with seafood from cell culture not yet commercially available.
Some of the major plant-based players in the industry include Good Catch Foods, Plant Based Seafood Co. and the most recent entry is Hong Kong-based OmniFoods, which launched its OmniSeafood line earlier this year. There is only one fermenting seafood brand on the market, Quorn, which offers fish-free sticks made with mycoproteins.
In terms of the number of technologies and food brands in the industry, the GFI report found that the figure had risen from just 29 in 2017 to over 85 companies by June 2021.
And while their seafood fermentation alternatives remain the smallest segment, there have been some significant breakthroughs, with players like Aqua Cultured Foods launching the first whole muscle-based microbial-fermented seafood this year. , as well as Enough’s 3D printed mycoprotein tuna steak prototype.
Major innovation opportunities
The GFI report points out that despite “promising” signs of initial growth, the sector is still in its infancy and new food technologies will have enormous potential to disrupt the traditional seafood industry.
“There is arguably no category more urgent and ripe for innovation than seafood,” the report said. “Alternative seafood remains a white space in the market and is a fraction of the size of the alternative protein market, which is, in turn, a small slice of the overall meat and seafood market.”
Some of the major opportunities highlighted in the report include the development of more varieties of seafood to capture the demand of the niche markets, as well as the expansion of the texture network with regard to seafood based products. existing plants, which tend to come in breaded or chopped formats.
He also noted that refrigerated products are a market gap, with most plant-based seafood analogues currently being shelf-stable or frozen products, and the ability to enter refrigerators and fruit counters. de mer will help to “increase the visibility” of the category.
Main image courtesy of New Wave Foods.