Thai Union—one of the world’s largest producers of seafood—will be launching plant-based shrimp as a tempura-style product this year. Thai Union recently launched its first plant-based products, including crabcakes and dim sum, in the foodservice sector. The move to expand into the plant-based seafood market comes in response to consumer demand.
“We have had consumers come to us and say, ‘I know you are an expert in seafood and shrimp; I would like to have a shrimp tempura, but not containing shrimp,’” Thai Union Innovation Director Tunyawat Kasemsuwan told media outlet Undercurrent News. “They come to us because they see we understand product quality, its functional properties, characteristics, taste, and sensory texture.”
The company had planned a larger European launch for its new plant-based products, which has been partially delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions. However, Thai Union hopes to add new products to its new plant-based line and target international markets, starting with private-label manufacturers and the foodservice sector.
The vegan seafood market
Thai Union will join other major companies that are diving into the plant-based seafood space. Supermarket Trader Joe’s is working to add vegan seafood to the chain’s offerings, Dutch brand Vegan ZeaStar is planning to launch a plant-based version of cod fish, and international brand Nestlé launched vegan tuna Sensational Vuna in Switzerland with plans to expand internationally. Additionally, seafood brand Bumble Bee Foods partnered with vegan seafood startup Good Catch Foods to help Good Catch widen its reach by leveraging Bumble Bee’s sales, distribution, and logistics expertise.