Feb 1st 2019

Plant-based tuna launched at national retailers

Rosie Wardle
Rosie Wardle
Investment Associate
  • Plant-based tuna from CPT Capital holding Good Catch Foods now available at Whole Foods Market and Thrive Market outlets in the US
  • Good Catch set their sights on the $11 billion global tuna market
  • Nearly 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are either overexploited or depleted

As one of the most popular and overfished species in the world, it was only a matter of time before someone tried to replicate tuna using plants.

The company succeeding in this endeavour is Good Catch. Now selling to Whole Foods and Thrive Market in the US, the product is a 6-plant protein blend made from peas, soy, chickpeas, lentils, faba and navy bean. It also contains algal oil, a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids that attract many health-conscious consumers to fish.

Described by its makers as the ‘first plant-based brand that truly rivals animal seafood’, the faux tuna comes in a 3.3-ounce pouch and is available in three flavours: Naked in Water, Mediterranean, and Oil & Herbs.

Good Catch: Two brothers with strong vegan credentials

Good Catch has impressive heritage. Co-founder Chad Sarno was a chef when he went vegetarian and then vegan more than 20 years ago. He and his brother, Derek Sarno, launched Wicked Healthy, a vegan brand that has published cookbooks and supplies about 42 grab-and-go products to Tesco stores in the UK.

Two years ago, the brothers partnered with Chris Kerr of New Crop Capital and entrepreneurs Marci Zaroff and Eric Schnell to start Good Catch. They focused on creating a true tuna texture in the first year, before digging into taste and nutrition in the second. The resulting ready-to-eat product is designed to deliver the flavour and flaky texture of chunk albacore tuna.

Better for oceans and offices

The accelerating impact of humanity on fragile ocean ecosystems is the driving force behind Good Catch, which aims to provide healthier and more ethical fish alternatives to supermarkets, but also restaurants, catering companies, and other foodservice channels further down the line.

Nearly 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are either overexploited or depleted. There are also mounting human health issues. For wild-caught fish, these include high levels of mercury, PCBs, dioxins and other contaminants. Farmed fish, meanwhile, are subject to the dangers associated with confinement and overuse of antibiotics.

But demand remains high. The global tuna market alone reached a value of over $11 billion in 2017.

Fish-free seafoods – like Good Catch’s tuna – clearly allow fish to remain in the oceans, while avoiding contaminants found in ocean-based fish and other problems presented by factory fish farming and aquaculture.

There are other benefits, too. Early on, Good Catch polled consumers about what they liked – and didn’t like – about tuna, discovering that “workplace shaming” over the smell is a big factor against it. The company’s plant-based product boasts the same texture, taste, and health benefits of tuna, without the fishy smell. Less reason to avoid your co-workers at lunchtime.

Another perk is the way it behaves when cooked in a sauce. Traditional tuna tends to breakdown, whereas Good Catch’s version becomes hydrated, making it a good substitute for other fish in a range of dishes.

The ball could now be rolling towards a world where plant-based tuna is as common as the real thing.

Rosie Wardle
Rosie Wardle
Investment Associate