In a further testament to the growing popularity of plant-based seafood, Konscious Foods, a frozen vegan sushi brand based in Vancouver, Canada, has successfully raised $26 million in a seed funding round. The innovative brand is the brainchild of French chef Yves Potvin, known for founding Yves Veggie Cuisine and Gardein. The funding round attracted notable investors, including Protein Industries Canada, Zynik Capital and the Walter Group.
“This investment validates our excitement about the demand — and critical need — for seafood made from plants,” Potvin said in a press release. “With the rising demand for fish, and subsequent overfishing crisis, we feel it is crucial to have better for you, better for the world seafood options that don’t sacrifice taste or texture. The funds will allow us to focus on sales and marketing efforts as we expand distribution across North America and continue our goal of making sustainable, delicious plant-based food widely accessible.”
Founded in 2021, Konscious Foods made its mark with a world-first offering: frozen plant-based sushi. This forward-thinking brand, which services both retail and foodservice sectors, offers a variety products within three distinct ranges, namely sushi rolls, onigiris and poke bowls. These offerings feature ingredients like the konjac plant, pea fiber and organic red quinoa.
Currently, Konscious Foods’ products are available at various retailers across the US and Canada, including Whole Foods Market and Sprouts Farmers Market. The brand has set ambitious growth plans and is expected to expand its reach to over 4,500 stores by year-end. Additionally, the funds will aid operations at its production facility in Vancouver and fuel marketing initiatives for nationwide retail launches.
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The demand for plant-based seafood is rapidly increasing in response to overfishing and other sustainability challenges in the traditional seafood industry. According to a report by Allied Market Research, the plant-based seafood market was valued at $42.1 million in 2021 and is expected to reach $1.3 billion by 2031, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42.3 percent.
A previous report indicated that alternative seafood is a major contributing factor to the expansion of the broader plant-based food market. Europe currently leads in the plant-based seafood sector, with companies like Hooked Foods and Revo Foods introducing innovative new products.
While Konscious Foods is a major player in the North American alternative seafood space, it isn’t the only brand drawing investments. Last year, Current Foods, a startup that provides plant-based tuna and salmon, closed an $18 million seed funding round led by Silicon Valley’s alt-meat early movers. And New Wave Foods, which specializes in plant-based shrimp, has received a total of over $20 million in funding since 2015.
While the plant-based seafood category may currently be relatively small compared to other sectors of the food industry, with the increasing focus on sustainability and inclusivity in food selections, it holds significant potential for growth — Konscious Foods is hoping to be a part of it.