From Beyond Meat’s tasty Beyond Burger that boasts an impressive 20 grams of plant-based pea protein per patty to new vegan deli slices from Lightlife that showcase the power of veggies, plant-based foods are taking over the protein space.
While most new plant-based options focus on replacing meats such as beef or chicken, few are venturing into the realm of vegan seafood. The oceans and the impact that our food choices have on them are frequently overlooked by consumers, but many scientists have predicted that fish stocks in our oceans will collapse by the year 2048 due to our increasing demand for salmon and tuna. As if overfishing weren’t bad enough, marine life is also highly endangered by our surplus of plastic trash and other environmental toxins we dump into the world’s waters. In short, as One Green Planet’s co-founder Nil Zacharias once said, we’ve turned our oceans into toilet bowls and “can’t expect to feed ourselves by draining our oceans of fish while simultaneously dumping trash into the very waters from which we source our food.”
If our oceans collapse, then life, as we know it here on Earth, goes with it – so we need a viable alternative to seafood, and we need one fast. Thankfully, there is a new company called Good Catch that has set its sights on revolutionizing seafood.
Co-founded by Chad and Derek Sarno of Wicked Healthy, Eric Schnell and Marci Zaroff of Beyond Brands, and Chris Kerr of New Crop Capital, Good Catch aims to “disrupt the seafood category, not the ocean’s natural resources.” Chef Derek Sarno is also currently in the UK developing plant-based recipes for Tesco, is also lending his talents to Good Catch.
So how huge of an impact could Good Catch have? Well, Americans consumed about 4.8 billion pounds of seafood in 2009, most of which was shipped in from other countries after being caught in the ocean or raised in an aquafarm. That same year, about 143 million tons of seafood were consumed globally. The reality is only about one billion people worldwide rely on seafood as their primary source of protein, mostly in developing nations, yet, we here in the West are draining scarce fish stocks at unprecedented rates. The average person in the U.S. eats around 225 fish a year, so if we could replace all of that – or at least a portion of it – with plant-based alternatives, we could help struggling marine populations recover and restore the balance we need to maintain a healthy global environment.
We often think that the ocean is its own, independent ecosystem that has little to do with life on land, but the ocean is responsible for about 70 percent of our oxygen and holds a majority of our freshwater stores in ice sheets. Without a broad and diverse variety of marine life, the healthy ocean ecosystem that stabilizes life for the entire planet will disappear. This is one of the most pressing and ominous issues of our time and the potential impact that Good Catch could have can’t be overlooked.
We are certainly looking forward to seeing Good Catch products hit the shelf, once again proving that the future of food is indeed plant-based.
To learn more about the environmental impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.