While the ocean remains largely a mystery waiting to be discovered, West Coast Natives and Founders of New Wave Foods Dominique Barnes and Michelle Wolf are tapping into the basis of the oceanic food chain as a means to refine seafood consumption. After working in marine conservation for many years, the two witnessed more problems than solutions and decided to help make a change in the food we eat. In 2015, a new idea came in with the tide—an idea devoid of ecosystem devastation and other problems plaguing the seafood industry today.
Tackling the texture and flavors of the most consumed seafood in the United States, shrimp, New Wave Foods is creating a new category of vegan, plant-based seafood options with its algae-based shrimp product. I caught up with Dominique, CEO, to learn more about algae as an alternative to meat and the future of sustainability.
“Algae is a part of the foundation on which the ocean is built on,” Dominique tells me. “Everything starts with algae and builds up from there. With our new shrimp product, we’re taking the middle man out and putting a new product on the market that is delicious, innovative, and sustainable.”
A good source of protein with a lot of the same health benefits as vegetables, New Wave Foods
“Our shrimp isn’t made in a lab. The process is more akin to making bread, and algae is our flour. We focused on texture first. Getting the shrimp texture right delivers an authentic dining experience with a new product like algae-and-plant-based shrimp,” Dominique shares. “Some people that try our shrimp can’t believe it’s not conventional shrimp, which is great because that means we’re hitting our target. We’re trying to accomplish something that has never been done before, and it’s exciting that people are responding positively.”
Officially launched in California, New Wave Foods is currently selling to foodservice operators at universities, restaurants, resorts, food trucks, and more. However, the company has plans to team up with retailers, both nationwide and overseas, to bring algae-based shrimp to a wider audience.
“We have lots of goals for 2018,” Dominique tells me. “We’re ready to partner with retailers and work together to drive success. We have future plans to develop a cocktail shrimp, as well as other seafood options like crab, lobster, tuna, pollock, and more, in order to make the seafood category more sustainable.”
And, if you’re a Californian resident, Dominique recommends swinging by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (where New Wave Foods is an approved partner to their Seafood Watch program) to try the company’s algae-based shrimp before it hits retail.
With lots in the works and nowhere but up to go, New Wave Foods is one company to keep your eye on as we keep swimming through 2018. For more on what’s new in deli, dairy, and bakery, stay tuned to Deli Market News.