Leading meat processing company Tyson Foods is reportedly making a foray into the plant-based seafood market by investing in startup New Wave Foods, that is creating a new vegan shrimp substitute.
The San Francisco-based company was co-founded by Dominique Barnes, a marine biologist and CTO Michelle Wolf, a Carnegie Mellon alumnus with biomedical engineering experience, with longtime consumer goods executive Mary McGovern at the helm.
As buyers move away from meats towards a more ecologically sound and animal friendly diet, plant-based proteins offer multibillion-dollar opportunities for startups in the market to develop alternatives to traditional meats.
This investment is not Tyson’s first venture into the meat-substitute market. The company had previously invested in Beyond Meat before its public offering and is currently funding Memphis Meats, known for their lab-grown meats.
Tyson Ventures President Amy Tu recently spoke about the exciting opportunities the plant-based meat market offers them, stating that the investment will continue the company’s focus on finding and investing in innovative companies with revolutionary products and technologies related to the food industry in order to consistently serve the broad global market.
Working with a team of experienced food scientists, researchers and chefs, New Wave Foods has developed a shrimp alternative made of seaweed and plant-protein and contains 8 essential amino acids found in regular meat and seafood. According to the company, the product also contains less calories and salt than real shrimp and is cholesterol and allergen-free.
Mary McGovern spoke about the versatility of the product, calling it a one-for-one swap of real shrimp, substitutable in numerous recipes. She claims that the product offers chefs more flexibility in terms of menu options while simultaneously fulfilling the growing consumer demand for sustainable food habits.
Tyson is already active in the plant-based protein industry, with a line of vegan meat-substitute products launched earlier in the year under the brand Raised & Rooted.