But while Impossible focuses on burgers, other faux-seafood brands are already coming to market.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated July 10, 2019
Manuel Alvarez/Getty Images

Impossible Foods has never been coy about its plans to replace meat of every kind. Its mission statement says the company wants people to “never have to use animals again.” And though the focus has clearly been on burgers, in the past year, Impossible has said that includes everything from steaks to dairy products. Fish are animals, too (sorry for the biology lesson), so it’s implied that Impossible would eventually turn its sights towards imitating the sea. This week, some early details about Impossible’s first foray into fish have emerged — while at the same time, one of their faux-seafood competitors has already announced a launch in the U.K.

In a New York Times article on fishless fish, Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown said he believes his company already has a leg up on the competition because the company’s proprietary “heme” ingredient can be used to mimic fish flavors as well as beef. In fact, he said his 124-person team has already created an anchovy-flavored broth. “It was being used to make paella,” Brown told the Times. “But you could use it to make Caesar dressing or something like that.” Specifics on more complex products weren’t provided, but two details were: Impossible plans to add around 75 more people to its research and development team by the end of 2020, and the company stands by its goal to offer alternatives to every animal-based food by 2035. So can something like tuna be that far around the corner?

And speaking of tuna, another American plant-based brand is happy enough with their faux-seafood that they’re already making inroads abroad. Ocean Hugger Foods said it’s planning to launch its raw tuna alternative and fake freshwater eel in the United Kingdom this fall to fulfill the country’s high demand for plant-based foods, according to FoodNavigator-USA. Founded in 2015, Ocean Hugger markets its tomato-laced fake tuna and eggplant-accentuated fake eel for use in vegetarian sushi or other dishes like rice bowls or Asian-style tacos. “Tomatoes contain high levels of naturally-occurring glutamic acids, which are responsible for the savory flavor of meaty foods,” Ashley Bouldin, the brand’s VP of global marketing, was quoted as saying. “Ocean Hugger’s method enhances the savory quality of the tomato while keeping the ingredient list simple and natural…. The result is a naturally meaty texture that looks and tastes like ahi tuna.”

Regardless, the question remains whether plant-based fish will have the same impact plant-based meat has had. Though both are said to be more environmentally-friendly, fish already has a health halo that red meat lacks. Still, Brown said he’s got a plan to combat that. “The only way we can succeed,” he told the Times, “is to make fish from plants that is more delicious than the fish that’s strip mined from the ocean.” Thankfully he’s given himself 16 more years to reach that goal.