This month, international brand Nestlé is launching vegan tuna Sensational Vuna in its home country of Switzerland before rolling out the product—its first foray into plant-based seafood—to global markets. The company spent nine months developing pea protein-based Sensational Vuna—the newest product sold under its Garden Gourmet brand—at its facilities in Switzerland, Germany, and the United States. The vegan tuna will be available on shelves in glass jars as well as part of prepared sandwiches in some stores.
“We have used our culinary and technical expertise to find the right combination of plant-based protein and flavors and combine them using proprietary technologies to create the rich flavor and flaky texture of tuna,” a company spokesperson told Foodnavigator-USA. “We used our proprietary, patented wet extrusion technology that we use for our plant-based meat alternatives, such as our vegan bacon and plant-based burger.” The company is also working to develop other vegan fish and shellfish products.
In 2019, the vegan Incredible Burger made its debut under the Garden Gourmet brand in European grocery stores and as part of The Big Vegan TS burger at McDonald’s in Germany. In June, a district court judge in the Netherlands ruled that the Incredible Burger infringed upon Impossible Foods’ name, branding, and visual identity in an attempt to confuse consumers forcing Nestlé to change its branding to replace “incredible” with “sensational,” terminology it is now using for other plant-based products such as its new tuna.
Stateside, Nestlé acquired vegetarian brand Sweet Earth for an undisclosed amount in 2017, which has since debuted a variety of vegan products, including the Awesome Burger, Awesome Grounds, and vegan cheddar-stuffed sausages, and a new iteration of the Awesome Burger blended with vegan Benevolent Bacon pieces. Nestle has also modernized some of its classic brands to include Sweet Earth’s vegan meat products such as DiGiorno pizzas and Stouffer’s lasagna.
In May, Nestlé announced plans to invest more than $100 million in expanding its manufacturing in the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area in China, a portion of which will be used to open a dedicated plant-based food production facility with the aim of launching plant-based meat products in China by the end of this year.