Austria-based Legendary Vish is using 3D printing to produce salmon and tuna fillets made entirely from plants.
The company is targeting a niche consumer segment that wants to eat plant-based sustainable fish beyond fish sticks and canned tuna, it said in a press release.
The main difficulty was trying to produce the plant-based product to mimic the texture of fish as well as the strong flavor, but Legendary Vish has found a combination of seaweed and vegetables to create a more "sea-like" taste until a cell-based solution is ready for the market.
The company is still in the early stages of development and expects to release its first product, a salmon fillet, in about two years. In the meantime, it is seeking seed investment, food scientists and laboratories to bring its idea to reality.
While seafood alternative products are far from a category killer at the moment, the growth in sales of these and other plant-based meat replacements is fueling strong investment in the sector and reflecting significant changes in consumer eating patterns.
In March, US-based tuna giant Bumble Bee announced a joint venture with Gathered Foods, which produces the plant-based seafood brand Good Catch. Bumble Bee will be working with Gathered Foods on the sales, distribution and logistics for the Good Catch brand.
German frozen food supplier Frosta unveiled its new vegan, plant-based breaded seafood product in February. It comes in three formats, including a "fishcake" iteration and a "fish finger" to follow, and fellow food giant Nestle announced January that it is developing a plant-based tuna product as its first fish substitute.
Alternative seafood products are here to stay, for sure, but how big the category will become will be determined by a host of factors, the most important of which is changing consumer preferences.
New IntraFish Business Intelligence report is out now: Plant-based seafood: The Threats and Opportunities. Get your FREE sample report today. Report delves into plant-based and cell-grown seafood alternatives, sectors which saw recent rapid growth as a protein source and as an ingredient for making protein-rich foods that mimic shrimp, fish and other seafood products. Reach out to us at Intelligence@IntraFish.com for more information.