From Beyond Meat’s tasty Beyond Burger that boasts an impressive 20 grams of plant-based pea protein per patty to vegan deli slices from Lightlife that showcase the power of veggies, plant-based foods are taking over the protein space.

There have been many exciting developments in the plant-based food space in just the last year and while most new plant-based options focus on replacing meats such as beef or chicken, few are venturing into the realm of vegan seafood. Considering the fact that if our oceans collapse, then life, as we know it here on Earth, goes with it – we need a viable alternative to seafood, and we need one fast.

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Thankfully, there is a new company called Finless Foods that has set its sights on revolutionizing seafood by focusing on making a cultured version of Bluefin tuna. Essentially, their product is real tuna that is grown in a lab and harvested, rather than the product of killing a live fish.

This product could truly revolutionize the seafood market, and in a bit of fantastic news, Finless Foods announced they have cut production costs by 50 PERCENT since this past September and hope to be price competitive with real Bluefin tuna by 2019. That’s so soon!

“Our ultimate goal is to bring the price down so that consumers can have a choice of cheap albacore or skipjack tuna or our high-quality bluefin tuna without any contaminants, for the same price,” co-founder and CEO Mike Selden told Food Navigator USA.

Finless Foods uses cellular technology, where the team works with a cell type from fish muscle and then isolates the cells they are looking for to grow a new piece of fish. The company is currently looking into commercial-scale production facilities to help bring their product to restaurants and grocery stores, according to Food Navigator USA. Exciting!

Finless Foods

 

And why the focus on Bluefin tuna, specifically? Finless Foods wants to help save the endangered Bluefin tuna. This single fish is used to create all of the creative and inventive rolls that many sushi goers enjoy. That popularity comes at a price, however. Due to high demand for this fish, bluefin tuna have been overfished so severely that they’re on the verge of extinction. In fact, a recent assessment indicates that Bluefin tuna stocks are down a staggering 96.4 percent!

The reality is, only about one billion people worldwide rely on seafood as their primary source of protein, mostly in developing nations. But yet, we here in the West are draining scarce fish stocks at unprecedented rates. The average person in the U.S. eats around 225 fish a year, so if we could replace all of that – or at least a portion of it – with lab-cultured alternatives, we could help struggling marine populations recover and restore the balance we need to maintain a healthy global environment. And having an alternative to tuna available to the average consumer at a similar price will go a long way in solving this pressing issue.

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We are certainly looking forward to seeing more from Finless Foods, once again proving that the future of food is indeed plant-based.

To learn more about the environmental impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.

Lead Image Source: Keana Okuda/Flickr

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