June 23, 2024

The sushi counter at Whole Foodstuff Market is a go-to for a speedy meal but vegan choices right here have generally been constrained to edamame and avocado rolls. Having said that, for some customers, that is about to adjust with new vegan tuna and salmon rolls by Kikka Sushi. 

Kikka has been a lover of Entire Meals for more than 30 decades and gives plant-primarily based sushi alternatives, this kind of as vegetable and salad rolls, at 200 locations of the grocery chain. However, Kikka not long ago expanded its sushi range to involve its own plant-dependent fish possibilities, which are now hitting Total Food items sushi counters at 17 flagship areas in six locations.    

“We have normally experienced a robust emphasis on dependable environmental stewardship, and use merchandise that are accredited sustainable, all-natural, and responsible,” Grant Kimura, Director of Promoting and Organization Advancement at Kikka Sushi, tells VegNews. 

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“As food stuff science and plant-based possibilities grow to be additional accessible, we have been capable to build a product or service in partnership with a single of our sellers in Japan to generate anything that not only looks excellent but also preferences excellent,” he states. “Previous makes an attempt at vegan fish substitutes had one or the other, but this is the 1st products we have tasted that does both equally.”

Vegan tuna and salmon at Complete Food items

To make sensible vegan tuna and salmon, Kikka uses a proprietary mix of pink algae and konjac. Often referred to as “konnyaku,” konjac is a root vegetable that has been popular as a noodle base in Japanese delicacies for generations. Now, its pliable texture is remaining explored in other applications, like as a plant-based different to fish. 

Kikka’s plant-based sushi was designed by the company’s seller in Japan jointly with Kikka founder Tonny Soesanto, who holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering from acclaimed college California Institute of Technological innovation (CalTech).

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Educated both equally by Japanese culinary traditions and a deep specialized awareness of plant chemistry and engineering, this one of a kind collaborative effort, Kimura says, is what differentiates Kikka’s plant-centered fish from other folks. “I assume the big difference is crystal clear when you see and flavor the item,” Kimura states. “The texture and ‘mouthfeel’ are on place, and the products tastes superior.” 

Plant-based mostly sushi for all

Kikka expanded past its vegetable-centric sushi alternatives with plant-dependent tuna and salmon alternatives to draw in a broader array of individuals who abstain from fish for myriad factors. 

Whilst some avoid having maritime existence for ethical motives, ocean pollution—in the kind of plastics and chemicals—has led many to avoid consuming fish, as well. Just one analyze printed past yr uncovered a url involving fish use and an amplified threat of skin most cancers, due possible to exposure to mercury.  

Because of to its higher concentrations of mercury, the United States Food and Drug Administration (Food and drug administration) recommends that persons who are pregnant avoid certain fish to lower possibilities of start defects—creating a different shopper base fish-free of charge options. 

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“One other demographic we also encounter is anticipating moms who pass up fish and sushi, and we are so happy we now have a product or service that they can consume,” Kimura suggests. 

Kikka’s new plant-centered sushi is just the starting for the brand’s exploration of fish-absolutely free innovations. Kikka also just launched plant-based mostly gyoza and is performing on other vegan seafood goods this sort of as warm bowls and poke. Kikka also transitioned to vegan sugar to ensure that all of its white rice goods are absolutely free from bone char.

Vegan seafood tends to make waves

In addition to Kikka, a selection of organizations have made reasonable alternatives to sushi-quality fish, particularly bluefin tuna as figures of the apex predator have sharply declined in the very last decades thanks to overfishing.

Current Foodstuff is another business in the plant-centered house creating sushi-quality fish. Built from algae, koji, radish, bamboo, and potato, the company’s vegan tuna is so sensible that it place the startup on TIME’s 100 Ideal Innovations of 2021 checklist. 

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In 2021, vegan e-commerce system GTFO It is Vegan introduced its individual line of konjac-centered vegan tuna, salmon, sailfish, and calamari which can be applied for chilly preparations of dishes that function regular sashimi.  

Over in Chicago, Aqua Cultured Food items is carrying out a thing a little distinctive. The startup makes use of the electrical power of microbial fermentation to produce vegan complete-slice fish products from mycoprotein. Before this month, the startup began the buildout of its new facility which will allow it to scale manufacturing of its ultra-realistic calamari, shrimp, scallops, and filets of tuna and whitefish. 

“This transfer is the ultimate step on the highway to commercialization of our alt-seafood, and it’s what we and our supporters have been ready for,” Anne Palermo, CEO of Aqua Cultured Foods CEO, said in a statement.

The startup options to introduce its very first merchandise to marketplace in the 2nd quarter of 2023.

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