Aqua Cultured Foods, a food-tech startup based in Chicago, unveiled its first product this week: vegan calamari fries made from a base of mycoprotein. This will be the company’s first commercially available product, which will officially launch sometime later this year.
To create calamari from mycoprotein (protein derived from fungi), Aqua Cultured uses a technology called microbial fermentation, which means microorganisms are used to create chemical changes in order to create a new food product or additive.
In a single serving (100 grams), Aqua Cultured’s calamari alternative contains approximately 80 calories and 15-20g protein. In comparison, 100 grams of conventional calamari contains approximately 90 calories, 16g protein.
Although there are a plethora of plant-based meat analogs available for purchase on grocery store shelves, plant-based seafood is considered a “white space” in the realm of alternative protein. This means that there is both a huge opportunity and demand for more plant-based seafood to hit the market. A few other companies producing alternative, plant-based seafood include Good Catch Foods, Sophie’s Kitchen, Jinka, and Ocean Hugger.
In addition to calamari, Aqua Cultured is developing alternative shrimp, scallops, and tuna and whitefish filets. Each of these products are completely animal-free and will boast a realistic texture and flavor.