Plant-based meat alternatives are increasing in popularity as consumers demand much healthier and sustainable options. Food tech companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have been perfecting their products, making alternatives meats taste, look and feel like real meat. But how about alternative seafood or fish?
Making up 16% of the total animal protein consumed globally, the fish industry is facing multiple sustainable issues such as overfishing, greenhouse gas emission, destruction of the oceans even to fears about mercury. Cited from BBC, plant-based seafood is going to be the next trend to hit the vegan market as people demand more sustainable and healthier alternatives.
Based in Vienna, Austria, Legendary Vish is currently working on ways how to produce salmon and tuna fillets made entirely from plants. We spoke to Robin Simsa, the CEO of Legendary Vish and asked him about their mission on how they plan to offer tasty, healthy and sustainable plant-based fish using state of the art 3D printers.
1. Could you tell us a little bit about your background as one of the teams behind Legendary Vish?
We were working together as PhD students in a European Project on 3D Bioprinting for three years. We saw that we could use our technology also for 3D Food Printing of sustainable, healthy, and delicious seafood products.
2. How did you come up with the idea to start Legendary Vish?
I previously worked with cell-based meat (meat grown from cells in a bioreactor) and always had a big interest in creating a more eco and animal-friendly protein source. While there are already many plant-based food choices for meat-eaters, there are not that many options for seafood lovers. We want to change that with our products!
3. What is your main goal?
Give consumers who love the taste of seafood a more sustainable and healthy plant-based option.
4. How long did it take for you to develop it all?
We are still in our R&D phase, which will also not stop because we want to keep innovating in order to deliver our customers only the most high quality, premium products. However, we are working on this business for almost a year now.
5. What were the most difficult challenges you faced creating this?
Seafood has a peculiar taste and texture, which is challenging to recreate. However, we already have great solutions for the flavour of our products, and now we are entirely focused on the texturization steps.
6. Using a 3d printer, you would be able to achieve the appearance and perhaps the texture of the fish. But how would you achieve the same taste as fish?
Certainly, the taste of fish can be recreated with a combination of different plant-based ingredients. However, unfortunately, I cannot disclose more about the exact ingredients here.
7. What were people's reactions when you tried to create a sustainable alternative to conventional fish?
Many people understand the need to create a more climate-friendly production system for seafood and fish. However, the concept of 3D Food Printing is relatively new to many people, and we are trying to work with maximum transparency to show people that the process we use is of the highest safety and quality standards. For example, our products do not contain any heavy metals, microplastics, antibiotics, or growth hormones, which are commonly found in salmon from aquaculture.
Photo Source: Legendary Vish