Many new plant-based seafood products being launched amid growing consumer interest

February 23, 2024

A raft of plant-based seafood products have been launched in recent months as companies look to capitalise on the growing interest in alternative proteins.

Plant-based seafood alternatives have – as with plant-based meat and dairy alternatives – become popular as some consumers change their eating and drinking habits over environmental and animal welfare concerns.

Among the new entrants is HAPPIEE!, whose products recently arrived on the shelves of Asda supermarkets in the UK, having previously been available through Ocado (frozen) and Tesco (chilled).

Products include both breaded and uncoated Shrimpiee, an alternative to shrimp, along with another breaded offering, Calamariee, and an uncoated squid replacement, Squidiee. They can be fried in a pan or cooked in an air fryer.

In a statement reported by specialist media, Kerenha Hart, a plant-based buyer for Asda, said that the brand was “bringing genuine newness” to the market.

“I’m confident Asda shoppers will love these seafood alternatives,” she added. “I was blown away by their likeness to real seafood.”

Many new plant-based seafood products being launched amid growing consumer interest

Image credit: OLALA!

Meanwhile, OLALA! from France has unveiled a brand identity for its vegan products that has been developed by Everland, a Scandinavian consumer branding and design agency.

Simon Ferniot, the CEO and co-founder of OLALA!, said in a statement that the firm was keen to “make waves” in the industry.

“We’re here to challenge the market but do it sustainably,” he said. “Everland helped create a platform for breaking through the ordinary and creating lasting change for the better.”

By making use of the phrase “Oh là là”, which reflects a pleasant surprise, the brand aims to highlight the pleasurable side of eating.

“When nearly all competitors focus on rationality and sustainability, we focus on the emotional aspects of having a great meal,” Mads Hauge Lindum, senior brand strategist at Everland, said.

“Desires and tastes make for a much more robust platform.”

OLALA! is set to announce additional products on top of six, all made in part from algae, that are already on sale.

These existing products are Toramazing, a plant-based Greek Tarama, raw or cooked Tunalicious and raw, cooked or smoked Salmonderful.

Many new plant-based seafood products being launched amid growing consumer interest

Image credit: OLALA!

A recent report by the consultants McKinsey indicated that pressure on fish stocks would drive the adoption of plant-based and other seafood alternatives.

Demand for seafood is forecast in the report to increase by 14% over the next seven years, yet as many as 85% of fisheries are already being fished at or close to their limit.

McKinsey also noted that restrictions on the growth of fish farming meant that this sector would struggle to cater to the increased demand.

In comments reported by media, Anders Milde Gjendemsjo, a McKinsey associate partner, indicated that alternative seafood – which can be produced by cultured cells and fermentation as well as from plants – was likely to have a stronger price advantage than alternative meat.

This is because top-end regular seafood can sell at much higher prices than equivalent animal-based meat, making it easier for alternative seafoods to achieve price parity with, or gain a price advantage over, regular seafood.

As many reports have noted, following tens of millions of euros of investment in North America and elsewhere, alternative seafoods are often said to now be difficult to distinguish from seafoods produced from fish or other marine organisms.

There has been pushback from the seafood sector, particularly in terms of labelling, something that has mirrored controversies over plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.

A public hearing was held in Brussels in late 2023 by the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries, also known as PECH, where concerns were expressed over what some saw as an inadequate regulatory framework that, they said, could erode trust in regular seafood.

However, the hearing also heard from representatives of plant-based seafood producers, who said that there was little risk of consumers being unsure about what they were buying, as there were multiple indications on packaging that products were plant-based.

The seafood sector is always heavily represented at SIAL Paris, which takes place this year from October 19 to 23.

Fresh, frozen, smoked, pickled, canned, pre-cooked, organic and ethically fished and approved seafood will be on display at the event.

It is no surprise that seafood has a high profile at SIAL Paris, because France is the fifth-biggest seafood market in the world.

Within the seafood sector, many products are generating increasing interest. There has been growth in demand for salmon, sales of which increased 12% in 2021, while shellfish sales jumped 5% in 2022 and prawn exports were up 17%, according to figures published by SIAL Paris.

Overall household spending on seafood rose by 7% in 2022, with 66% of fish consumed on the continent being frozen.

Globally, the seafood market is worth around €583.3 billion a year and estimates suggest that the market will grow in size by about 5.6% until 2028. Within the seafood sector, seaweed sales are expected to grow by 8% annually.

About 89% of visitors to SIAL Paris have a decision-making or influencing role, and the event acts as a showcase for nearly 2,000 innovations.

More information about the opportunities available at SIAL Paris is available from the sales team at exhibit@comexposium and at

Main image credit: HAPPIEE!

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