While most consumers have been paying attention to all the new plant-based or vegan chicken hitting the market, a whole new category of vegan food has started to gain traction, and it’s only going to continue to grow: Plant-based seafood. Now, vegan tuna, vegan crab, vegan salmon, and all nature of vegan seafood are taking the market by storm, and plant-based fish alternatives are becoming one of the fastest-growing segments in the entire plant-based food industry.
Companies worldwide have started developing plant-based alternatives for every possible type of fish and shellfish, including staples like vegan tuna or vegan shrimp to more rare and occasion-driven vegan caviar and vegan roe. Whether you are looking for something to elevate your dinner party like a vegan caviar blintz or to replace your seafood comfort food classics such as vegan tuna salad or vean crab cakes, the market is swimming with plenty of exciting, new options.
For sushi lovers and New Englanders raised on clam chowder, there are even fish-free versions of your favorites, such as vegan sashimi, and vegan crab cakes, and fishless fish sticks that taste just like the ones you were raised on.
New innovative brands like Good Catch have created impressive fish substitutes that will trick even the most avid seafood lovers. Throughout 2021, leading companies such as Gathered Foods (parent of Good Catch) and the Plant-Based Seafood Co. have helped lead the new category to reach the status of “mainstream” and attracted consumers who love the taste of fish but not the idea of eating it. Their efforts are attracting the attention of VCs, which by the middle of last year, had poured $116 million into vegan seafood companies.
How we rate the vegan seafood products
For this taste test, we sampled plant-based seafood products from Good Catch, Loma Linda, Vegan Zeastar, Kuleana, Cavi•art, Gardein, Sophie’s Kitchen, Jinka, and The Plant-Based Seafood Co. Each score for taste and health is based on ten-point criteria for taste and another ten-point criterion for health, created by an RD.
The points for health are based on objective nutritional metrics, such as sodium content, protein content, fat, carbs and calories, so they are measures of a product’s health and nutrition. (The full list of health and taste attributes is here, and each one is worth half a point for the highest rating of five beets.) The 10 point taste criteria are:
10 Point Health Grading System, Created By a Registered Dietician (Per 1 Serving)
- Protein: ≥3 grams
- Calories: ≤300 if it’s a snack or an additive (creamer etc), ≤650 if it’s a meal
- Carbs: <15% DV for snack, ≤30% DV for meal
- Saturated Fat: ≤3 grams for a snack or ≤6 grams for a meal (To get a point, Sat Fat has to be Less than 10% of total calories per serving)
- ≤ 10 Ingredients
- No Added Sugar
- Fiber: ≥3 grams
- Sodium: ≤230 milligrams for a snack, ≤650 milligrams for a meal
- Ingredients: First ingredient on the label is a whole food
- Good source of micronutrients (Calcium, Iron, potassium): 10% of DV of 1 or more
The taste attributes are based on subjective measures.If you don’t agree with our taste tester’s assessment, rate it yourself and see how your rating stacks up to the other readers who have tried these vegan seafood alternatives. The 10 point taste criteria are:
10 Point Taste Grading System, Products Get a Point For:
- Overall Taste: general pleasantness and tastiness. You think: YUM!
- No Aftertaste: Clean. No coconut, metallic or unwanted lingering taste
- As good as the real thing: or better!
- We’d Buy It! Would the editors purchase it again? Recommend to a friend
- Pleasant Texture. Is it an enjoyable texture
- Pleasant Smell: is the aroma pleasant, like real, no other smells detected
- Normal Color: is it the right color for the item? Milke should be white, not grey
- Good Consistency. Is it too thick? Too thin? Just right?
- Tastes Healthy: Not processed, clean and full of goodness. Not too rich
- Would non-vegans like it? Enjoy it as a substitute. Could you fool them?
Read More: Use This Tool to Find the Tastiest, Healthiest Plant-Based Items | The Beet | https://thebeet.com/for-the-tastiest-healthiest-plant-based-products-check-out-the-beet-meter/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral
Take note that this is a selection of what plant-based seafood companies have to offer and we will add to it as more products come to stores near you. Industry experts predict that vegan seafood will be the next major market to experience explosive growth, after plant-based chicken, vegan pork, and of course non-dairy creamers. More great vegan seafood is coming, such as a vegan whole cut salmon fillet, from an Israeli company called Plantfish slated to launch worldwide by 2024.
What is vegan fish made from?
The biggest question from fisher eaters concerning plant-based alternatives is, ‘What exactly is it made of?’ Most of the plant-based fish alternatives come from either soy or pea-based protein. Other varieties (specifically, the raw fish substitutes) are developed from more creative ingredients such as algae and tapioca starch.
Vegan fish brands have developed expert alternatives that mirror the protein content and texture of real fish products. But beyond the surface, these vegan fish products contain nutrients that many people would worry about not getting if they are avoiding fish, such as omega 3s. These plant-based alternatives contain healthy levels of plant-based omega 3s, vitamin B12, and other nutrients.
For more great plant-based products, check out the Beet Meters, and add your own reviews to the best vegan products.
10 Best Plant-Based Seafood Brands
1. Loma Linda Tuno
Loma Linda’s Tuno – yes that is how they spell it – is a low-calorie, low-sodium alternative for anyone who loves tuna but is off fish. This tuna is made from soy protein and has 7 grams of protein per serving which is lower than its competitors and about 1/3 of actual tuna fish. The texture is slightly tougher than traditional tuna but can make a tasty tuna salad with vegan mayo and is diet-friendly with just 40 calories a serving.
2. Good Catch Tuna, Naked in Water
This vegan tuna reminds us so much of Starkist tuna meal in a bag, that we immediately made it into a tuna-salad sandwich. The texture is exactly like the real thing, but because it’s made from pea-protein, soy, chickpea, lentils, and fava beans, it’s a healthier choice. Packed with 17 grams of protein, this tuna alternative is practically indistinguishable from its real counterpart. Good Catch Tuna is a great way to get kids onboard eating plant-based, and if they take it to school their friends won’t believe it’s not tuna. The Naked in Water version is lower in calories than the oil-packed one, and this one is unflavored, making it extremely versatile for any recipe.
3. Good Catch Crab Cakes New England Style
Good Catch’s vegan crab cakes are seasoned with sweet peppers, green onions, and parsley, which makes them almost as good as homemade. The plant-based recipe is as good as the real thing and you could serve them to a dinner party (you get 8 cakes in a package) and your guests would be impressed. These each contain 20 grams of protein per 4-cake serving (32 percent of your daily value!). The New England-style mouthwatering crab cakes are easy to prepare and so flavorful you can’t mess them up.
4. Vegan Zeastar Salmon Fillet
Vegan Zeastar’s Salmon Fillet will satisfy most sushi lovers who love their sashimi but have given up fish. Made from tapioca starch, this vegan salmon has all the omega-3s of your regular fish dish. Try it in a roll, or poke bowl. (Zeastar’s vegan salmon even feels like salmon when you slice it!) The flavor is identical to salmon but without that “too fishy” smell or after-taste. We dare you to try it on any skeptic or even trick an unsuspecting dinner guest.
Cavi•art is plant-based caviar that will elevate any dinner party. With a delicious salty accent, the seaweed-based caviar is the perfect substitute for Osetra or other black pearl caviar. The miniature pearls can be added to plant-based cream cheese or vegan sushi rolls, for a tasty finishing touch. With zero calories and a rich, salty flavor, Cavi•art has perfected the art of seaweed caviar, providing something we didn’t think we needed but we do!
6. Sophie’s Kitchen Salmon Burgers
Sophie’s Kitchen’s signature Salmon Burgers is a perfect option for a fish-free burger that is also gluten-free and soy-free. The plant-based burger is lightly flavored with dill and lemon to bring out its authentic salmon taste. This burger – made from pea protein – contains 18 grams while still being low in calories. The flaky texture is true to real salmon, but the flavor needed a little more seasoning or marinade to make it a fully satisfying quick, easy dinner.
7. Kuleana Tuna Poke Cubes
Kuleana’s Tuna Poke Cubes bring vegan tuna to the poke-crazed masses. Made from algae, konjac, and radish, this raw tuna substitute is packed with important minerals and nutrients including iron, vitamin B12, omega-3s, and more. Despite being low in protein, this plant-based fish is an excellent choice that could trick even an avid poke bowl lover. One tip: Add a little extra soy sauce or hot sauce to flavor it up.
8. Jinka Original Tuna Spread
Jinka’s slogan “Made for Everything” applies to this versatile vegan tuna spread. The plant-based tuna blend makes a delicious classic tuna salad or a fried tuna patty. The original version has a slight aftertaste, but add some lemon or hot sauce to cover it up. With 14 grams of protein (from wheat and soy), this tuna salad is low in calories but relatively high in fat, since the first two ingredients are olive oil and canola oil.
9. Gardein Mini Cr*b Cakes
Gardein’s miniature crab cakes come seasoned with garlic, bell peppers, and green onions, creating a recipe that is good enough that even picky crab cake lovers will be hooked. These crispy fried cakes are easily prepared in an air-frier or stove-top pan. Serve the mini crab cakes with vegan remoulade, crumbled over a salad, or in plant-based tacos. Three mini-crab cakes contain 9 grams of protein, 140 calories, and are a good source of omega-3s.
10. Mind Blown! Plant-Based Dusted Shrimp
With a background in the real seafood industry, The Plant-Based Seafood Co. Mind Blown! Shrimp is so impressively delicious that it could trick anyone into believing that it’s real. The Mind Blown! Dusted Shrimp come seasoned to perfection, pre-breaded, and ready to fry so they can easily be added to PO boys, etouffee, and even a Dusted Shrimp General Tso’s. Five pieces contain 4 grams of protein with only 90 calories, making this mouthwatering substitute diet-friendly!