Israeli food technology company, Vgarden, has developed a tuna-less canned “tuna” that claims to be just as flaky, tasty, and nutritious as the real deal but is made entirely from peas. Vgarden’s new vegan “tuna” is another meatless entry into the rapidly growing sustainable plant-based food market.
Canned tuna is an inexpensive, easy-to-store source of protein that is in demand worldwide. According to the UN, tuna is the most-consumed fish on the planet. The worldwide market for tuna is forecast to reach almost $50 billion by 2029. Europe and Asia are the chief consumers of tuna, with the Middle East and South America tracking close behind.
The company said that they created their new vegan “tuna” as one way to ease the burden on the ocean’s supply of wild-caught tuna, which they say has been overfished and is in decline.
“Aquaculture and the overfishing of this high-in-demand fish has had a devastating effect on their numbers to the point that it has put several species, such as the yellowfin and the Atlantic Bluefin, on the edge of extinction.” Vgarden director of global sales Tom Rothman said. “This not only poses problems in terms of food security but also negatively impacts the delicate and fragile balance of the marine environment. Our plant-based tuna solution can help turn the tide on this ecocatastrophe and contribute to the restoration of the ocean’s wild tuna populations.”
Vgarden’s “tuna” is packed with 11 to 14% protein and comes in a pouch or can. The manufacturing process requires a minimal amount of energy and water consumption, which also eases the strain on marine life.
“Tinned tuna has a very distinct flaky, yet moist and chewy texture, with a powerful fresh-from-the-sea aroma,” said Ilan Adut, Vgarden CEO. “But for our plant-based creation to serve as a true substitute, even beyond compellingly mimicking all of the sensory qualities, it also has to match tuna as much as possible in nutritional value. Our new tuna-like product is clean-label, scalable, affordable and sustainable.”
Vgarden was birthed at a kibbutz in Israel—Kibbutz Gan Shmuel—that is focused on plant-based vegan alternatives. The kibbutz is known for its unique cheeses, pastries, spreads and (non-chicken chicken) nuggets.
Israelis love plant-based options on the menu. Israel has more vegetarians and vegans per capita (and “flexitarians”—those who enjoy a mostly plant-based diet with an occasional steak or piece of grilled chicken thrown in!) than any other Western nation.