New seafood innovator Plantish is on a mission to save the oceans with a true fish alternative
Israeli food-tech start-up Plantish is giving consumers a first look at its flagship product, a 100% plant-based whole-cut salmon fillet, which mimics cooked salmon in texture, taste, appearance, and structure. The 6-month-old company is developing a versatile, patent-pending additive manufacturing technology that will produce plant-based fish alternatives at low-cost and high-scale.
Plantish joined the burgeoning alternative protein start-up scene in early 2021 and soon after raised a pre-seed round of $2 million from TechAviv Founder Partners, a venture fund backed by top industry veterans, including 33 unicorn founders, and angel investors, including esteemed Michelin chef José Andrés, and Nuseir Yassin of Nas Daily. According to Co-Founder and CEO Ofek Ron, the Plantish mission is deeply meaningful to the team: “We exist to save the oceans and eliminate the need to consume marine animals by providing more sustainable, more nutritious, and more delicious fish options.”
The first product that Plantish is launching is Plantish Salmon™, a fully structured, boneless salmon fillet. Plantish Salmon™ has the same nutritional value as conventional salmon, and is high in protein, Omega-3s, Omega-6s, and B vitamins. Unlike fish from the ocean or aquaculture, it is free of mercury, antibiotics, hormones, microplastics, and toxins. “Our vision is to be the world’s leading seafood brand,” says Ron, “all without hurting a single fish.”
According to leading market research firm IMARC Group, the seafood market today is worth $586 billion, and globally salmon accounts for $50 billion. Approximately 80% of fish is consumed whole-cut, in the form of whole fish or fillets. However, the alternative seafood sector primarily consists of minced fish options, due to the technical complexities of whole cut production.
The complexities for creating whole-cut fish are not only in creating the mimicked taste, texture, and mouthfeel, but also two other crucial criteria: structure and scalability. Using the right plant proteins to achieve the fibrous strands meant to replicate the complex texture of animal muscle is the key to succeeding in capturing the experience of eating salmon, and doing so at scale will make it a suitable substitute for food service, restaurants, and retail.
Plantish’s current prototype can be cooked in all the ways that conventional salmon is prepared.
The founders of Plantish are a mix of serial entrepreneurs, bioengineering and chemistry PhDs, and foodtech executives:
Ofek Ron, former Vegan-Friendly GM; Dr. Ron Sicsic, former Enviro founder; Dr. Hila Elimelech, Chemistry PhD; Dr. Ariel Szklanny, Bioengineering PhD; and Eyal Briller, former Director of Product at Impossible Foods.
Plantish Salmon™ will be launching in select pop-up locations by the end of the year. Its official launch is slated for 2024.