US plant-based seafood business, The Ish Company has recently formed an alliance with a major seafood processor, Thai Union to penetrate into the US plant-based seafood market.
The Ish Company, established in 2020, markets a coconut- and konjac-based alternative to shrimp through foodservice outlets in the US. In 2022, it launched its flagship product, Shrimpish®, which is now available at selected colleges, universities and restaurants nationwide, with plans to expand offerings to include Salmonish™, Codish™, Crabish™, Lobsterish™ and other portfolio complements.
In the words of Bernard David, CEO and Founder of The Ish Company, “Consumer demand for healthy, nutritious, and sustainable food sources is accelerating as individuals increasingly make the connection between the food they eat and the climate crisis. Our plant-based seafood is crafted with environmental impact top of mind, delivering on taste, texture, nutrition, and planetary health. We’re grateful for this partnership with Thai Union and Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods as we work together to help transform food and agriculture into a regenerative, nutritious, and healthy system.”
Thai Union plans to use its strong marketing and distribution channels in the US to support its alt-seafood partner.
According to Christie Fleming, President and COO of The Ish Company, “We’re focusing on expanding our footprint in foodservice first but we have plans for a broader retail launch in 2023.”
Plant-based seafood is a relatively new segment in the US compared to plant-based meat and chicken products. Both partners hope to leverage on one another’s strengths to excite this market.
This alliance will also mark Thai Union’s first step into the US plant-based meat category. Plant-based seafood remains small in the US, representing less than 1% of conventional seafood. The niche segment faces challenges including taste, texture, a consistent and well-developed supply chain and concerns about consumers’ purchasing power.
Thai Union, despite being a real seafood supplier, also acknowledges the future challenges faced with higher global population. Alternative seafood is going to be part of the next growth opportunity for the larger seafood sector. Apart from being sustainable, it also ensures the world able to meet future demand for seafood while assuring better future for the planet.
Thai Union is currently the No.1 distributor of frozen shrimp and pasteurised crab meat in North America. It will work with its subsidiary, Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods in the alliance together with The Ish Company. The alliance is part of Thai Union’s global SeaChange® commitment, which includes measurable steps to foster sustainable solutions across its business.