New Wave Foods’ sustainable shrimp from red algae
July 24, 2016
an Francisco biotech startup New Wave Foods aims to address the impact of overfishing, bycatch, water pollution, slave labor, an animal death toll in the trillions, and other ills of our unsustainable lust for shrimp…with red algae.
In the lab, New Wave Foods has engineered a product with the same taste, texture, and look as animal shrimp, but with a better nutritional profile, using red algae and other plant-based ingredients. The result is so convincing, and so much more sustainable, Google’s chef will be replacing animal shrimp with it as soon as production can scale.
The company just announced a funding round, led by Efficient Capacity. Additional funding was provided by New Crop Capital, a specialized private venture capital fund that provides early-stage investments to companies that develop or sell plant-based meat, dairy, and egg products.
New Wave Foods uses plant-based ingredients, such as red algae, to engineer new edible materials that replicate the taste and texture of fish and shellfish while improving their nutritional profiles. Its first product, which has already been served in Google’s cafeterias, will be sustainable shrimp. Shrimp is the nation’s most popular seafood, currently representing more than a quarter of the four billion pounds of fish and shellfish consumed by Americans annually. For each pound of shrimp caught, up to 15 pounds of other animals, including endangered dolphins, turtles, and sharks, die.
The market for meat analogs is expected to surpass $5 billion by 2020, and in recent years, millions in venture capital has flowed into plant-based alternatives to animal foods.
“The astounding scale of our consumption of sea animals is decimating ocean ecosystems through overfishing, massive death through bycatch, water pollution, carbon emissions, derelict fishing gear, mangrove deforestation, and more,” said New Wave Foods co-founder and CEO Dominique Barnes. “Shrimping is also fraught with human rights abuses and slave labor, so we’re pleased to introduce a product that is better for people, the planet, and animals.”
The current round of investments from Efficient Capacity and New Crop Capital follows investments from SOS Ventures via IndieBio, an accelerator group funding and building biotech startups.
Along with its new funding round, New Wave Foods announced the appointment of John Wiest as COO. Wiest brings more than 15 years of senior management experience in food and consumer products, including animal-based seafood companies, to the company. As an executive and consultant, Wiest has helped dozens of food ventures develop new products, expand distribution channels, and create strategic partnerships.
Co-founder and CEO Dominique Barnes holds a master’s in marine biodiversity and conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and co-founder and CTO Michelle Wolf holds a bachelor’s in materials science and engineering and a master’s in biomedical engineering. New Wave Foods’ first products are scheduled to reach consumers in Q4 2016.