Vgarden, Ltd., a foodTech developer and manufacturer of plant-based alternatives, announced a vegan canned tuna that is reportedly 100% plant-derived and has the same appearance, texture and flavor of the canned kitchen staple.
"Tinned tuna has a very distinct flaky, yet moist and chewy texture, with a powerful fresh-from-the sea aroma," explains Ilan Adut, CEO of Vgarden. "Our new tuna-like product is clean-label, scalable, affordable and sustainable. But for our plant-based creation to serve as a true substitute, even beyond compellingly mimicking all of the sensory qualities, it also has to match tuna as much as possible in nutritional value."
Following 12 months of experimentation with ingredients and processes, the startup developed its plant-based tuna formula. The private-label product is already being rolled out in the retail and food service sectors. It is available in two packaging formats: pouches for chilled storage, and cans to facilitate non-chilled storage. Vgarden's R&D mission was to develop a tuna that can be tinned and sterilized at high temperatures, yet still retain its full flavor and texture. The company has filed a patent for the formula and process.
Vgarden's tuna analog is based on pea protein, with a total protein content of 11.2-14%, before and after filtration. Its proprietary manufacturing process reportedly uses only minimal energy consumption and water.
"Aquaculture and the overfishing of this high-in-demand fish has had a devastating effect on their numbers to the point that it has put several species, such as the yellowfin and the Atlantic Bluefin, on the edge of extinction," says Tom Rothman, head of global sales at Vgarden. "This not only poses problems in terms of food security but also negatively impacts the delicate and fragile balance of the marine environment. Our plant-based tuna solution can help turn the tide on this ecocatastrophe and contribute to the restoration of the ocean's wild tuna populations."
Vgarden says its vegan tuna can be integrated into any traditional tuna-based recipe, such as tuna mayo sandwiches, salads, toasts, pastas, sushi, pizza and more. The company is now setting its sights on the global alternative protein scene for penetrating its tuna analog.