5 companies that make vegan sushi dreams come true
3 Min reading
Did you know that billions of fish and other marine life are killed as a result of “bycatch” so you can stuff your face with a roll of tuna maki? That’s what PETA says, in a sobering list of 145 reasons not to eat sushi. Besides the unsustainable nature of the fishing industry, eating sushi can also be hazardous to health. Your plate of sushi may contain harmful substances, including toxic levels of mercury or anisakis, a parasitic worm that feeds on raw fish. If you eat shrimp sushi, you might even support forced labor. It’s a minefield over there! Luckily, some crafty plant-based founders have come to the rescue with raw fish vegan sushi that rivals the real thing.
San Francisco-based Kuleana was founded in 2019 by Jacek Prus and Sònia Hurtado. The duo’s goal is to create sushi-grade plant-based raw fish alternatives.
The Kuleana Akami offers a sustainable alternative to critically endangered species such as bluefin tuna. The vegan alternative was created using exclusive new food technology and is composed of micro and macro algae, pea protein, algae oil rich in DHA, fermented koji iron and of vegetable fibers.
2. Vegan Zeastar
Dutch company Vegan Finest Foods has launched Vegan ZeaStar, a range of vegan alternatives to sushi with raw tuna and raw salmon. The company uses tapioca starch and glucose derived from seaweed to replicate the texture and flavor of traditional fish, and the products contain omega-3s derived from flaxseed and rapeseed oils. The vegan fish pieces are placed in a 20cm (7.9 inch) nori sheet encouraging sushi chefs to use them in different ways.
3. The planters
German company Planteneers uses textured vegetable proteins, plant-based binders and seaweed-based hydrocolloids to create vegan sushi alternatives that rival the animal version. Its fiildFish mimics the structure and texture of raw fish and the vegetable protein concentrates provide the macronutrient levels of traditional fish.
4. Ocean Hugger Foods
New York-based startup Ocean Hugger Foods entered the alternative seafood business in 2016 and a few years later was stocked in the prepared foods section of Whole Foods. The company was founded after a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, where the chef realized that fishing for endangered yellowfin and bluefin tuna was not sustainable.
The company’s flagship product is Ahimi, an alternative to raw tuna, made from just five ingredients: tomatoes, gluten-free soy sauce, sugar, water and sesame oil. Unlike fish, it does not contain mercury or PCBs. Ocean Hugger’s second product is Unami, a sustainable alternative to eggplant-based freshwater eel (unagi).
Founded by Jessica Chan in 2017, UK-based Ima makes alternative sushi rolls from a plant-based salmon that she developed in-house. Ima, which means’ now ‘in Japanese, uses konjac, an Asian root vegetable as a base, vegan sushi burritos, sweet corn sushi burrito, katsu tempeh sushi burrito, and a set of vegan hoisin’ duck sushi. “.
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Main image courtesy of Kuleana