Seafood industry giants back up plant-based seafood newcomer

Thai Union and Chicken of the Sea have announced a partnership with plant-based seafood innovator The ISH Food Company, as industry watchers predict a surge in the plant-based market over the next ten years.

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
26 August 2022, at 7:30am
fried plant-based shrimp
Fried Shrimpish pieces

The ISH Food Company is making plant-based seafood that delivers on taste, texture and environmental sustainability © The ISH Food Company

Thai Union and Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods are announcing an alliance in North America with leading plant-based seafood brand, The ISH Food Company. The up-and-coming brand is leading change in communities globally to provide a regenerative, nutritious food system. It has trademarked a Whole System Approach to develop innovative plant-based food products, considering every single step—from the soil and water to the table—and asking how to make it healthier for all involved.

"We are excited to expand our reach within the alternative protein space through this alliance with The ISH Food Company," said Maarten Geraets, Thai Union managing director for alternative proteins. "Our corporate venture business arm has been working closely with innovative alternative protein startups as we increase our attention and investment in sustainable seafood alternatives. As the number-one distributor of frozen shrimp and pasteurised crab meat in North America, we have expansive expertise in the seafood category that we are eager to leverage in this new market."

press release graphic

© The ISH Food Company

This alliance will leverage relevant Thai Union and Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods marketing and distribution channels to invest in the sustainable seafood space and ensure alternative seafood protein options are available to new audiences at an affordable price point. The announcement is part of Thai Union's global SeaChange commitment, which includes measurable steps to foster sustainable solutions across their business.

Since 2016, Thai Union has placed a great deal of focus on developing its SeaChange sustainability strategy, earning the company a first-place spot on the Seafood Stewardship Index two years in a row. Increasingly, sustainability has become a primary concern for many seafood consumers. In a recent survey executed by Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods and leading market research consultancy Wakefield Research, grocery and foodservice executives and buyers were surprised to receive requests for plant-based (35 percent) and lab-grown (31 percent) seafood products this year. With a growing consumer desire for alternative seafood products, this alliance was the logical next step, as the category works to provide increased access to those looking for innovative seafood solutions and great-tasting alternatives.

"As a global entity, Thai Union acknowledges that a diverse range of healthy and nutritious proteins is essential to meeting future population demands in a sustainable manner, whilst increasing food security," said Geraets.

The alliance with The ISH Food Company was a natural fit for both brands, particularly given the alternative protein brand's environmental-first philosophy. The ISH Food Company, a certified B Corporation, was established in 2020 to deliver innovative, sustainable, healthy and deliciously disruptive plant-based foods to every plate worldwide, starting with plant-based seafood. From consumers' nutrition to growers' financial health to products' carbon footprints, The ISH Food Company's ultimate goal is to create a system that restores and is in balance with the needs of the earth. In 2022, the company launched its flagship product, Shrimpish, which is now available at select colleges, universities and restaurants nationwide, with plans to expand offerings to include Salmonish, Codish, Crabish, Lobsterish and other portfolio complements.

Grilled plant-based shrimp
Grilled Shrimpish

Shrimpish was launched in 2022 and the company plans to expand offerings to include Salmonish, Codish, Crabish, Lobsterish © The ISH Food Company

"We have a big mission, and we can't do it alone, which makes this collaboration in North America even more important," said Bernard David, ISH founder and CEO. "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."