Green waves: plant-based seafood on the rise

Green waves: plant-based seafood on the rise

The plant-based seafood market is experiencing significant growth, driven by various factors, such as the rising popularity of veganism, environmental concerns, health considerations and animal welfare issues. With almost a decade of experience in the new food business, Vera Oswald of Vegconomist tells us more.

A report by Data Bridge Market Research predicts that the market will grow at a considerable compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.5 percent until 2029. This growth presents opportunities and challenges for the hospitality industry. Gradually, the hospitality industry is recognizing the demand for plant-based seafood and catering to consumers’ preferences. Europe is dominating the plant-based seafood market due, in part, to the numerous new product launches and the presence of alt seafood options in major restaurant chains. The East Asian market is also projected to see significant growth in plant-based seafood products. As greater plant-based seafood options become available, consumers in this region are more likely to embrace them.

Challenges and opportunities for the hospitality industry
Incorporating plant-based seafood into menus requires chefs and kitchen staff to adapt their cooking techniques and recipes to achieve similar flavors and textures to traditional seafood dishes, which might necessitate training and experimentation with new products and/or ingredients to ensure that plant-based alternatives meet customers’ expectations.
However, offering plant-based seafood can attract a growing segment of consumers who are seeking plant-based and ethical options. By providing these alternatives, hotels and restaurants can cater to the preferences of consumers, thereby expanding their customer base, and it may also contribute to their sustainability goals.

Success factors for the plant-based offer
The most important factors to make plant-based meals successful are good taste and fair price. Plant-based alternatives should be at least as attractive in terms of taste and price as their animal-based counterparts. Moreover, even if the segment is rising, there is still a lack of consumer awareness of seafood alternatives. This highlights the importance of quality and communication efforts by hospitality businesses to promote their plant-based seafood offerings.

Industry leaders embrace the plant-based revolution
There are some developments that reflect the increasing significance of plant-based seafood in the global hospitality industry. Some of the best plant-based seafood brands have already secured their place in the restaurant scene, for example:

  • Green Monday has partnered with restaurants and supermarkets in Hong Kong to offer OmniSeafood dishes and product discounts for a month in support of World Ocean Day.
  • Alt-seafood brand BettaF!sh launched its plant-based TU-NAH at all 157 locations of the international restaurant chain L’Osteria.
  • Californian alt-seafood startup Impact Food announced the launch of its flagship plant-based tuna at Pokeworks’ most popular location in Irvine, California.
  • Munich-based Happy Ocean Foods, which specializes in plant-based seafood with a current focus on vegan shrimp, is available at the big food service companies in Germany, like Chefs Culinar, Transgourmet and Metro.

Some restaurants, like the ones of IKEA, are making it their mission to endorse the green wave. Since October 2022, IKEA worldwide has been selling plant-based food products at the same or even lower prices than the animal protein-based alternative. Thanks to its smart pricing and delicious gastronomic offering and marketing campaigns, IKEA is steadily increasing its share of plant-based meals.
The plant-based seafood market is experiencing significant growth, driven by various factors, such as the rising popularity of flexitarian and plant-based diets as well as environmental concerns. The hospitality industry, even in the Middle East, should not miss the opportunity to make their businesses future-proof, take advantage of the significant growth and help shape sustainable and ethical transformation.

Vera Oswald,
Head of CR at Vegconomist

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