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Fake fish enters the plant-based market; Long John Silver’s, Whole Foods lead the charge

·Reporter, Booking Producer
·2-min read
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Move over, plant-based meat — the movement now has its eyes on creatures of the sea.

One such company is Gathered Foods, which on July 19th came to market with plant-based seafood — including a fish-free filet and crab-free cake — as interest in alternative foods gathers steam. 

The two offerings developed by subsidiary Good Catch are available at fast food chain Long John Silver's for a limited time, in locations across California and Georgia. Meanwhile, the company also has a partnership with Whole Foods, Amazon's (AMZN) upscale grocery. 

Fake fish isn't anything new, as imitation shellfish, primarily for people with allergies, has been a grocery store staple for years. 

Yet Gathered Foods is blazing a commercial trail recently created by plant-based purveyors like Beyond Meat (BYND) and Impossible Foods. Their products have debuted in well-known chains like Panda Express, KFC, Burger King, Starbucks (SBUX) and Dunkin' Donuts.

"It took us a couple of years to develop" the light, flaky texture of the filet and cake, Christine Mei, Gathered Foods CEO, told Yahoo Finance Live this week.

"One of the most important differentiating factors when you eat seafood is the texture versus say some of the other animal proteins...we want to make sure that we curate experiences for consumers that deliver a delicious taste, because if you taste good, then you're going to come back," she added.

Good Catch's offerings are created through a blend of six key legumes, including peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans and navy beans.

So will consumers bite? Although some may consider it a niche subsection of plant-based protein, Mei believes it is only the beginning.

"People are still learning about the availability and just the whole impetus of plant based seafood," she said. Gathered Foods still considers itself a startup with a mission to "positively disrupt" and propel change to offer both a plant-based solution and support ocean health.

(Courtesy: Good Catch)
(Courtesy: Good Catch)

Good Catch is also looking to capture customers' attention and perhaps cause a bit of commotion with its 'OurWay' message. On July 15th the company toured a van outside "popular fast food sandwich stores across locations in London, New York and Austin" for consumers to try a Good Catch tuna sub for free.

Interestingly, the promotion is perfectly timed, as Subway has fended off ongoing questions about the authenticity of its widely popular tuna. Recently, CEO John Chidsey squashed any speculation in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance LIVE, emphasizing "it's 100% real tuna. We're very proud of our tuna." 

Brooke DiPalma is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at bdipalma@yahoofinance.com. Check out her latest:

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