Building on their proprietary fermentation methods inspired by tempeh (a high-protein plant-based food made by fermenting soybeans), Better Nature is aiming to create the first animal-free fish analogue that is physically, visually, nutritionally, and sensorially equivalent, if not superior, to fish. Using a newly developed and proprietary method, they will apply tempeh fermentation on food industry by-products to obtain a plant-based fish with optimised taste and texture.
“While demand for animal protein is increasing, 90% of the world's marine fish stocks are depleted. The chances of a meaningful transition to more sustainable, plant-based alternatives to fish are hampered by technical barriers in replicating its structure, taste, and nutrition. Tempeh fermentation, combined with co-inoculation and natural encapsulation techniques, tackles just this. At Better Nature, we want to address this gap through an appealing and affordable fish analogue, made using all-natural and sustainable sources.” comments Driando Ahnan-Winarno, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Better Nature, who is leading the project along with fellow co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Fabio Rinaldo.
Better Nature are not the only ones thinking about plant-based fish. With the global plant-based seafood market predicted to soar to $1.3 billion by 2031, accelerated by Netflix documentary Seaspiracy, plant-based fish and seafood are set to be in high demand. The United States has shown the most interest in vegan seafood, with a 100% increase over the last year with Australia and the UK not too far behind at a 83% and 45% increase respectively.
Better Nature joins a small group of companies exploring the new field of solid-state fermentation to create superior alternatives to animal products in terms of taste, texture and nutrition, including MyForest Foods, Meati, Prime Roots and MycoTechnology and Mycorena. Better Nature will be supported on the project by award-winning fermentation companies across Europe, including Nucaps Nanotechnology, S.L. and Neoalgae Micro Seaweeds Products in Spain and the Centre of Food and Fermentation Technologies in Estonia. The project will run until 2024 and Better Nature are aiming to commercialise their plant-based fish alternative in European markets by 2026.