The innovators behind plant-based tuna brand Good Catch describe themselves as ‘culinary rebels with a cause’.
Founded by brothers Derek and Chard Sarno, the US-based brand aims to help protect the ocean’s resources, while providing plant-based protein options for consumers.
Good Catch has yet to undertake a life cycle sustainability assessment to evaluate all environmental, social and economic impacts of the brand. However, Derek Sarno – who heads up plant-based innovation for Tesco and launched the retailer’s plant-based Wicked Kitchen line in 2018 – said he believes the brand’s ‘biggest environmental benefit’ is that ‘nothing dies’.
“Good Catch doesn’t require the killing of tuna in order to provide a high-protein meal,” Derek told FoodNavigator.
A six-legume blend
Good Catch makes it tuna substitute from a blend of six legumes: peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans, and navy beans. The addition of algae and seaweed extracts provide a ‘clean ocean flavour’ without the accompanying odour, explained Derek.
“We found these legumes, when blended in the perfect proprietary ratios, render an amazing texture resembling the exact flakiness of seafood,” noted the firm.
Elaborating on the importance of texture, Derek said the team worked on the texture of the product ‘for about a year’. “The texture of tuna is what makes it unique. The proteins are finely layered, and we wanted to get that right.”
From a nutrition standpoint, the legumes bring ‘a similar punch of protein’ compared to conventional tuna, and algae oil also provides omega-3s, we were told.
One-hundred grams of Good Catch’s plain SKU contains 109 kcal, 19g protein, 3g fat, and 1.4g salt.
Hitting the tuna aisle at Tesco
Good Catch has three flavours of plant-based tuna, all of which are hitting the tuna aisle at Tesco in the UK. The plant-based tuna varieties have an RRP of £2.50 per 94g pouch.
“Our ‘Naked in Water’ [SKU] is just how it sounds,” Derek told this publication, “a very simple ingredient that be used like-for-like with traditional tuna recipes, salads, sandwiches and the like”.
Two flavoured varieties – Mediterranean-inspired and Oil & Herb – are ‘dressed and ready to eat’ right out of the pouch, he continued, “whether with crackers for an on-the-go lunch or on a salad for a protein boost”.
The decision to launch in the tuna aisle follows on from Wicked Kitchen’s placement in Tesco’s meat aisles, Derek explained. “To put it in front of the masses. This is vegan food made for meat and fish eaters! Easy swap without compromise or having to kill an animal.”
Expanding with investment
The Tesco launch represents Good Catch’s first commercialisation partnership outside of the US.
“We launched in the US market in February 2019, so it’s been a year,” said Derek, “and things are going incredibly well.”
The Tesco launch follows on from an announcement by Good Catch’s parent company, Gathered Foods, which raised over $32m (€28.8m) in a Series B financing round earlier this month. The round was led by industry players such as Greenleaf Foods and the venture arm of General Mills, 301 INC.
Other participants included Stray Dog Capital, Rocana Ventures, Almanac Investments, CPT Capital, and New Crop Capital.
According to Gathered Foods, the funds will be used for expansion across North America, and into Europe and Asia. It also plans to open a manufacturing facility and launch new products and foodservice channels this year.
“The goal is to make Good Catch accessible and available to everyone,” noted the firm at the time.