Tyson Foods, Inc., through corporate venture subsidiary Tyson Ventures, has completed an investment in New Wave Foods. The size of the animal protein giant’s minority stake in the startup faux seafood company was not disclosed.
Based in San Francisco, California, New Wave Foods is focused on producing plant-based shellfish and plans to have a shrimp alternative ready for foodservice operators to menu by early 2020.
“We’re excited about this investment in the fast-growing segment of the plant-based protein market,” said Amy Tu, president of Chicago, Illinois-headquartered Tyson Ventures. “This continues our focus of identifying and investing in companies with disruptive products and breakthrough technologies related to our core business so we can continue to serve a growing global population.”
“We worked with the Culinary Institute of America to set the gold standard for this product and then created a plant-based shrimp that has had rave reviews from the thousands of people who have tasted it,” said Mary McGovern, chief executive officer of New Wave Foods. “Our plant-based shrimp cooks and tastes just like the real thing, and it matches the texture, taste, performance and versatility of shrimp fresh from the ocean. The proof is in the overwhelming, positive response we have had to the product.”
New Wave’s product is based on co-founder and chief technology officer Michelle Wolf’s extensive collaboration with a team of some of highly experienced R&D professionals that includes leading food scientists and academics in the United States. The company’s first offering, a plant-based shrimp, is made with sustainably sourced seaweed and plant protein, and contains all eight essential amino acids that are found in meat and seafood. It has no allergens, zero cholesterol and is lower in both calories and salt than real shrimp.
“Our product is a delicious, one-for-one direct swap for the real thing, and interchangeable in a wide range of recipes,” McGovern said. “It gives chefs and foodservice operators great menu options while addressing consumers’ growing demand for sustainable choices.”
New Wave Foods is currently expecting to announce the launch of its Series A round in the near future.
In June, Tyson Foods announced its own alternative protein products under the Raised & Rooted brand, led by Justin Whitmore, executive vice president of alternative proteins and chief sustainability officer for the company. Its initial product line includes nuggets made from plants that will be available in 5,000 retail stores in North America by the end of September, and blended burgers made with a combination of beef and plants that will be available this fall.
Tyson Ventures was launched in December 2016 and is focused on investing in promising entrepreneurial food businesses that are pioneering new products or technology.