Imitation crab is easy to find on grocery store shelves. If a recent startup has their way, shrimp could be the next seafood staple to get the “imitation” treatment – but these fake shrimp are far more innovative than their fake crab counterparts.
In just eight months, New Wave Foods is hoping to bring its shrimp replacement product to market in the form of breaded popcorn shrimp. What makes these not-quite-shrimp special is that, unlike imitation crab, they are completely devoid of any animal protein whatsoever. (Imitation crab is basically a well-colored and shaped fish ball.) Instead, New Wave’s shrimp are created from a mix of plant-based protein powder and red algae – the same algae shrimp eat that give them their pink color. “We’re not reproducing shrimp cells,” company cofounder Dominique Barnes told The Atlantic. “We use a process that's similar to baking a loaf of bread.”