- Nestle is launching three new types of plant-based alternatives to white fish in countries across Europe, including Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, the company announced Monday.
- The new alternatives include marine-style crispy filet and marine-style crispy nuggets in Europe under the Garden Gourmet brand. The company has already launched crispy fish-free fingers in Asia under the Harvest Gourmet brand in Malaysia and Singapore.
- Popularity of plant-based seafood sources has surged in popularity in recent months. Torsten Pohl, global head of R&D for Nestlé’s food category said “These new fish alternatives are the result of our deep expertise in plant-based proteins and our strong commitment to continue delivering exciting innovations.”
The world’s largest food company’s decision to expand into the plant-based seafood space is also a part of its vow to increase sales of healthier foods by 2030.
The choice to increase production of foods with plant-based ingredients is part of a commitment to help people achieve a more balanced and sustainable diet, the company said. The filets, nuggets, and fingers are made with ingredients like pea protein and will be a source of both protein and fiber.
“They come with strong nutritional credentials, making them competitive in the marketplace,” said Pohl.
Like alternative beef, pork and chicken protein sources, the plant-based seafood space has been met with challenges related to the taste and texture.
Another common challenge in the alternative protein space is price, and Nestlé has recently hit consumers with higher prices, Reuters reported. Sales volume weakened to the slowest pace in three years, and the company is concerned that popular weight loss drugs like Ozempic have put a dent in demand.
CEO Ulf Mark Schneider said that dieters will need nutrient-rich products, and the company says these new plant-based fish items fit that bill.
Nestlé claims its plant-based fish products are “as close” to white fish in taste and texture as they are able to be, while also being certified vegan, on the basis of consumer testing done by the company.
According to data from Global Market Insight, the market for plant-based seafood was valued at $800 million in 2022 and is projected to progress at a 5.5% compound annual growth rate between 2023 to 2032.
Other much smaller brands have come out with plant-based seafood products in recent years. Konscious Foods, a line of plant-based seafood by French chef Yves Povtin recently launched in Whole Foods. Good Catch, the first vegan seafood brand in 2021 was recently acquired by Wicked Kitchen in 2022 to “support product innovation.”
Among the “nutritional credentials,” that the Harvest Gourmet and Garden Gourmet products have that will differentiate them in the marketplace is a nutri-score of “A” in France, Germany and Spain, countries that use the nutri-score front-of-pack labeling system.