Meet Terramino Foods, a new food technology start-up based out of San Francisco that is working to solve our seafood problem. This awesome new company is part of IndieBio, a startup accelerator that helps turn scientists into entrepreneurs, and they recently developed a fully vegan salmon burger. According to a report in Fast Company, the burger has the same taste and nutritional value as a salmon burger from Whole Foods.
The start-up was founded by Kimberlie Le and Joshua Nixon, who began working on the concept while taking the “Plant-Based Seafood Collider” course at the University of California, Berkeley. The team perfected their vegan salmon burger during the four-month program.
So, how do you make a vegan salmon burger? Terramino Foods used only plant-based ingredients including koji fungus and algae, plus a growth medium to mimic the muscle fibers of animals. The end result is a burger with less fat than farmed salmon and it is a complete protein source. Terramino Foods plans to expand to other seafood and meat alternatives using the same fungi platform and hopes to make their products price competitive so they can come to market.
“Our goal at scale, in a few years, will be to get the price down below any source of animal source protein, whether that be chicken or fish. We want to be price-competitive on all of these options,” Le told Fast Company.
Having a viable price-competitive salmon alternative won’t just make consumers happy, Terramino Foods is also helping save our oceans and marine life. Salmon is one of the most vulnerable species on the planet. The average American consumes two pounds of salmon a year, with around two-thirds coming from farmed sources in China, Norway, and Canada. Around 40 percent of all fish consumed annually are raised on aquafarms, land or ocean-based equivalents to factory farms where fish are raised in a highly intensive manner.
Aquafarms concentrate thousands of fish in an enclosed space and because of the high concentration of fish, a ton of waste is produced and emitted into the marine ecosystem. This waste breeds bacteria that consume oxygen, creating low-oxygen zones that can lead to dead zones. Aquaculture fish are also treated with pesticides and antibiotics, which are then also directly put into the marine environment.
It’s not just salmon that are hurting. Over-fishing, habitat degradation, and diseases spreading from salmon farms are leading to a decline in fish stocks in the Pacific Northwest. This is a concern for the Pacific Northwest resident orcas who specialize in foraging for salmon species. Without enough food to eat, orcas have been found washed up on the shore as a result of starvation. According to a study conducted and published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 80 percent of global fish stocks are “fully- to over-exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse.” Switching to plant-based alternatives offers the hope of reversing the damage we have caused the oceans.
Thanks to innovative companies such as Terramino Foods, we are seeing a shift away from this unsustainable food system to a better plant-based future. For more information on Terramino Foods, check out their website.
For more impactful stats and to learn how you can help the environment with your food choices, grab a copy of the new #EatForThePlanet book!
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