Tyson Foods is getting into the seafood business.
Through the company’s venture capital arm, Tyson is investing in New Wave Foods, a San Francisco-based startup that’s making a plant-based shrimp substitute.
The company, founded by marine biologist Dominique Barnes and chief technology officer Michelle Wolf, who studied biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, is helmed by longtime consumer goods executive Mary McGovern.
There’s a multibillion-dollar opportunity in the seafood market as consumers turn away from beef as a source of protein, and several startups are out in the market pursuing either plant-based or cultured protein alternatives to traditional seafood.
Indeed, Shiok Meats is a company that’s pursuing the development of a lab-grown alternative to farmed shellfish.
Shiok Meats takes the cultured meat revolution to the seafood aisle with plans for cultured shrimp
For Tyson, the investment is the latest foray into the increasingly competitive market for alternative meats.
The company was also an investor in Beyond Meat prior to its public offering and is backing the lab-grown meat company Memphis Meats, as well.
“We’re excited about this investment in the fast-growing segment of the plant-based protein market,” said Amy Tu, president of Tyson Ventures, in a statement. “This continues our focus of identifying and investing in companies with disruptive products and breakthrough technologies related to our core business so we can continue to serve a growing global population.”
Culling together a development team of food scientists, academics and chefs under the direction of co-founder Michelle Wolf, the company has produced a seaweed and plant-protein alternative to shrimp that contains the eight amino acids that are found in meat and seafood, the company says. New Wave Foods claims that its product is also lower in calories and salt than real shrimp and has zero cholesterol and no allergens.
“Our product is a delicious, one-for-one direct swap for the real thing, and interchangeable in a wide range of recipes,” McGovern said in a statement. “It gives chefs and food service operators great menu options while addressing consumers’ growing demand for sustainable choices.”
Tyson already has a line of alternative protein products that it launched earlier this year under the Raised & Rooted brand.
Tyson Foods launches its take on alternative proteins with new ‘Raised & Rooted’ brand