Plant-based meat has been an emerging trend for years now owing to factors surrounding sustainability.
Surprisingly, Filipino households consume more fish products than meat. According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, 37 kilograms of fish and fish products per capita per day were consumed by Filipinos in 2015. This is relatively larger than meat consumption, which falls at 22 kilograms per capita per day, and poultry at only 10 kilograms per capita per day.
But with the threat of overfishing in our own waters, it’s no wonder that plant-based seafood might be the next big thing.
The US so far is witness to several plant-based seafood innovations with entrepreneurs already venturing into and exploring seafood alternatives—from vegan canned tuna (or toona as they call it) to fishless fish steaks. Some entrepreneurs even went the extra mile to create replicas of actual seafood like plant-based crabcakes, plant-based shrimps, and even ahi tuna and unagi or freshwater eel.
Corporate giants and famous meatless brands have also dipped their toes into the plant-based seafood game. Nestlé recently announced that it’s developing another vegan product, the tuna salad, which will hopefully be released later this year. This will be an addition to its current roster of plant-based food products such as soy-based sausages, which was released on Mar. 11 in European countries, plant-based bacon cheeseburger, pea- and oat-based dairy alternatives and an Australia-exclusive plant-based Milo.
The maker of the famous Impossible Burger, Impossible Foods, is also working on a fishless fish by engineering its plant-based beef recipe. There are also pre-packaged meals like Quorn’s fishless fingers made with rice flake and wheat flour and Gardein’s fishless fillet made with soybean concentrate and potato starch.
The US so far is witness to several plant-based seafood innovations with several entrepreneurs already venturing into and exploring seafood alternatives—from vegan canned tuna (or toona as they call it) to fishless fish steaks
Plant-based seafood doesn’t only benefit vegans and vegetarians. It’s also an alternative for those who are allergic to seafood, those who aren’t able to eat raw fish for safety reasons, and those who have a weak immune system. These innovations also cater to those planning to switch to a sustainable lifestyle by advocating a cleaner and safer environment and preventing the disruption of aquatic ecosystems.
Though there are restaurants and businesses offering vegan and vegetarian options in the Philippines, there aren’t plenty of plant-based seafood dishes to choose from. Jack’s Produce is probably one of the few that has explored this idea whose vegan Spanish sardines uses jackfruit instead of sardine. It boasts 100 percent plant-based ingredients, is gluten- and soy-free, and comes in four sauces (chili oil, tomato sauce, rice bran oil, and corn oil). There are also healthy fish alternatives like VegTunay and Veggie GG from Vegetari Healthy Bites.
Local entrepreneurs who are looking for something new to reel in old and new consumers should weigh in discoveries like this. Who knows this might be the key to save our seas?