All at once, it seems, faux meat has gone from the back freezer of the health food store to the front display case at your local Walmart. From the so-real-it-bleeds Beyond Burger to vegan “chicken” at KFC to the plant-based Omnipork taking Asia by storm, mock meat is having its moment in the sun. Swimming up just behind it is artificial seafood, poised for a boom any minute. With overfishing threatening marine ecosystems worldwide, vegetarian substitutes make sense for sustainability. Here are some of the most interesting—and potentially tasty—faux fish products on the market or in the works.
“Shellfish, evolved” is the motto of vegan shrimp startup New Wave Foods. To develop the shrimplike creations, the founders worked with the Culinary Institute of America, taste-testing shrimp varieties from across the globe and taking the best qualities of each. The resulting product contains seaweed, plant protein and natural flavors, and can be cooked just like real shrimp (on the barbie, of course, or deep fried in a po-boy, or boiled and dipped in cocktail sauce as an appetizer before your fake steak). The company, which was recently backed by Tyson, looks to begin distributing “shrimp” to hotels and restaurants soon. While sustainable shrimp does exist, the seafood supply chain is notoriously opaque, so it’s hard to know what you’re really getting. With New Wave, you don’t have to worry.