There’s nothing fishy about it.
Impossible Foods, maker of the beefless Impossible Burger, is taking the meat out of another animal product: fish.
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The California-based company is developing a plant-based seafood alternative, in hopes that consumers will shell out for a vegan eat over the real deal.
In the search for that fishy flavor, Impossible’s team is working with a plant-made, anchovy-flavored broth and heme, a protein released from genetically modified yeast, which is also in the Impossible Burger.
“It was being used to make paella,” Impossible chief executive Pat Brown tells The New York Times, “But you could use it to make Caesar dressing or something like that.”
The company hopes to offer alternatives for every animal-based food product by 2035, The Times reports.
Other food-tech businesses are in on the meatless craze, too, with alternatives to hot dogs, scrambled eggs and chicken nuggets already on the market.
Impossible isn’t the only one with a line in alt-fish food. A faux tuna is currently available at Whole Foods from plant-based company Good Catch, and San Francisco’s Wild Type is working on a fish-free salmon.
“There are some limitations when you try to reconstitute the same texture from plant ingredients,” Wild Type co-founder Aryé Elfenbein tells The Times. The salmon’s texture, he says, has to be “programmed in.”
Production speed is also an issue: It took Wild Type three and a half weeks to create enough faux salmon for a recent tasting.
Whether fake fish will have the same appeal as fake burgers remains unclear, in part because fish doesn’t have the bad rep red meat has, health-wise. Still, the commercial fishing industry has been shown to be bad for the planet, with 90% of Earth’s marine fish stocks already depleted.