This Plant-Based Salmon Looks, Tastes, Cooks, and Flakes Like the Real Thing
We can chalk up another victory for food scientists this month as Toronto-based New School Foods debuted a plant-based salmon alternative that delivers the experience of eating the fish—including the flavor and texture of a cooked filet—without needing you to consume any actual salmon.
Yesterday we reported that a company called Yo Eggs introduced its plant-based poached egg alternative to restaurants in and around Los Angeles this week. These vegan “eggs” feature a simulated, but highly Instagrammable, yellow yolk that oozes out onto the plate when the egg is cut into. Yo Egg also announced it is working on a plant-based sunny side up egg alternative that would be manufactured in Los Angeles, but other companies are also diligently working to plantify our other breakfast staples.
If your morning typically starts with bagels and lox, there are already plenty of vegan cream cheese alternatives, but New School Foods has finally revealed the fruits of three years of research and development: a plant-based salmon alternative that looks remarkably close to the real thing, both when raw and cooked, that also delivers the same level of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids.
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Like most companies working on plant-based food alternatives, New School Foods won’t go into detail on how its faux salmon is manufactured. According to TechCrunch, the company created a “proprietary muscle fiber and scaffolding platform for making whole-cut meat alternatives with the same colors, flavors, fats, texture and mouthfeel of traditional fish.” One big difference when compared to how other plant-based meat alternatives are manufactured is that New School Foods’ process is all cold-based, resulting in the familiar look and feel of its plant-based meat before and after it’s cooked.
The other advantage to how this plant-based salmon is manufactured is that it uses equipment already in use in other industries. Quite often, a plant-based meat alternative is created in a laboratory setting full of exotic equipment that makes manufacturing very difficult, or very expensive, to scale up. That’s not the case here, as New School Foods, which is now also looking to build a pilot factory, believes it can scale up manufacturing and reliably churn out its plant-based salmon en masse.
As we pointed out with Yo Egg’s poached egg alternative, New School Foods isn’t necessarily trying to produce a healthier alternative to salmon, although it should hopefully arrive free of any of the microplastics which are starting to show up in wild caught seafood. The real goal here is to provide consumers with a meat alternative that’s satisfying to consume while furthering the cause of animal welfare and reducing the heavy environmental impact of raising animals for food.
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