Algae Shrimp Is The Sustainable Seafood Choice You Should Know About

It's safe to say that seafood is a popular choice of protein for many people. In fact, about 160 million metric tons of fish were consumed overall around the world in 2021, according to Statista. That equals out to about 19.8 kilograms (43.65 pounds) of fish eaten per person in 2021, and the seafood industry shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. By 2025, the fish industry is estimated to be valued at $336 billion, and fish is currently the most popular animal protein throughout the world.

About three million people worldwide consume seafood as their main protein source, and the growing and continuing demand for seafood has resulted in many unsustainable fishing practices, per the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Because more and more seafood is being caught, the natural population of various marine life has diminished significantly, leading to around 90% of the fish population being caught to a point that exceeds a sustainable amount. Thankfully, one way to help the wild fish population from becoming extinct is by farming seafood instead; however, some fish farms may follow unsustainable fishing practices as well by harming the surrounding environment with their farm. Luckily, there's a relatively new plant-based shrimp that's made from algae and helps lessen the demand on the natural shrimp population.

New Wave Foods' plant-based algae shrimp is the first of its kind

A startup company based in San Francisco called New Wave Foods is the first company to create a plant-based shrimp made of algae, according to Vice. CEO of New Wave Foods Dominique Barnes said that the most important yet difficult aspect of creating plant-based shrimp was getting the complex texture down. Macro algae extract is used to recreate the structure and texture of real shrimp, per YouTube. In addition to helping sustain the wild shrimp population, New Wave Foods' plant-based shrimp is shellfish-free, meaning people with shellfish allergies can enjoy the taste and texture of this shrimp-like product. New Wave Foods also uses algae oil to mimic real shrimp's smell and red algae extract for the color.

So far, the algae shrimp has been well received, with Google serving the plant-based shrimp in its cafeteria and several restaurants in California serving the product as well. In the future, the company hopes to expand into other plant-based seafood, such as lobster, crab, scallops, salmon, and tuna. Plant-based shrimp seems to be just the thing experimental chefs have been searching for, and Chef Charlie Ayers of the Giants Clubhouse in San Francisco thinks "algae is the future of food. It's where we are going in the food world" (via YouTube).