Good Catch plant-based seafood expands in Europe, eyes innovation: 'There is an opportunity to be wildly creative from a culinary and technology standpoint'

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Good Catch is growing its European business / Pic: GettyImages-handmade pictures
Good Catch is growing its European business / Pic: GettyImages-handmade pictures

Related tags plant-based Seafood

US plant-based seafood brand Good Catch is expanding in Europe, having secured listings in the Netherlands and Spain. “We have a passion for the culinary arts, for saving our oceans and for providing craveable plant-based products for consumers that believe in our mission,” Gathered Foods CEO Christine Mei tells FoodNavigator.

Good Catch is a plant-based seafood brand that has made waves in North America.

Earlier in the year, it secured a US$36.8m Series B Financing Round, which enabled it to open a ‘state-of-the-art’ plant-based production facility in Ohio. The company has since entered into a joint distribution agreement with Bumble Bee Foods, making its products available on a wider scale. It has also expanded into Canada and attracted celebrity backing from the likes of Woody Harrelson, Shailene Woodley, Paris Hilton and Lance Bass.

Now it has set its sights on the European market in what has been described as its ‘largest retail expansion since the brand’s inception’.

Produced by Gathered Foods, Good Catch was founded by Derek and Chad Sarno, the chefs and food entrepreneurs behind Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen range.

Having entered the UK in January this year through a distribution partnership with Tesco, Gathered Foods believes now is the ‘ideal’ time to increase its presence in the region further still.

“We are continuously working to expand our footprint internationally, and particularly in Europe,”​ Gathered Foods chief executive Christine Mei told us.

“We’ve seen a high level of consumer interest in plant-based seafood alternatives across the globe. Our team worked diligently to identify the key markets where consumers were eager for more plant-based variety and built great relationships with distributors and retailers to jump on this need,”​ she continued.

Gathered Foods - Good Catch tuna
Pic: Gathered Foods - Good Catch tuna

In the Netherlands, Good Catch's plant-based seafood products are available in Albert Heijn, the largest Dutch supermarket chain, as well as Jumbo and Coop, among other retailers. In Spain, Good Catch is stocked by Sanchez Romero, the specialty supermarket chain throughout Madrid.

“So far, there’s been a great consumer response to our products in these markets and we are excited to continue to expand our retail presence in these markets and more,”​ Mei revealed.

The company is now preparing to enter in Germany. “We are working with a distributor in Germany and will be available in the market in early 2021.”

The chief executive added: “We are also fostering new distributor relationships [in additional European markets] to hopefully expand further in 2021.”

Multichannel strategy for maximum impact

At the same time as it enters retail, Gathered Foods is also extending its reach in foodservice. This multichannel approach delivers the company a number of benefits as it works to reach out to eco-conscious consumers seeking ocean-friendly seafood alternatives.

“We have seen the demand for plant-based alternatives both in retail and food service, so our goal has always been to bring our products to the forefront of both channels. We want our products to be available to consumers across all channels as we believe everyone should have the same access to plant-based products at an affordable price, whether on-shelf or on the menu,”​ Mei explained.

Products on supermarket shelves and restaurant menus deliver a distinct proposition for consumers and help build Good Catch’s relationship with shoppers in different – but complementary – ways.

“Bringing our products to retail allows consumers to utilise our offerings in a variety of ways and fit it into their food planning routine at home. Through restaurant partnerships, consumers have the opportunity to explore a deeper culinary side to our business, with the menu items expanding the way consumers enjoy our plant-based seafood offerings.”

Mei said that Good Catch has had ‘great success’ with US foodservice partnerships including Veggie Grill – and the company wanted to bring that same model to Europe.

“We are continuously working to expand these partnerships and have some exciting plans in the works for 2021. Stay tuned!”

Gathered Foods - Good Catch plant-based fish cakes
Pic: Gathered Foods - Good Catch plant-based fish cakes

‘Wildly creative’ clean label innovation

Providing a sustainable seafood alternative is at the heart of Good Catch’s mission. And to do this the company firmly believes that a creative culinary approach is best.

Gathered Foods - Good Catch plant-based crab sliders
Pic: Gathered Foods - Good Catch plant-based crab sliders

Good Catch's non-GMO proprietary six-legume blend of peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans and navy beans deliver protein and ‘a texture that resembles the exact flakiness of seafood’ without the environmental impact.

“Our ingredients – and therefore our products - are Non-GMO certified as well as Certified Vegan. We’re planning to pursue both Kosher and Halal certifications in the future. We’re always looking at additional certifications that our customers would find reassuring.”

The brand currently has two product lines available: Good Catch Plant-Based Tuna and Good Catch Frozen Appetizers and Entrees. Good Catch Plant-Based Tuna is offered in three flavours - Naked in Water, Mediterranean and Oil & Herbs – while the frozen entrees and appetizers include New England Style Plant-Based Crab Cakes, Thai Style Plant-Based Fish Cakes, and Classic Style Plant-Based Fish Burgers.

“Our co-founders, Derek and Chad Sarno, employ the best in culinary arts to craft our products. We truly are led by our impact opportunity and product innovation as well as by our mission and our passion,”​ Mei said.

And she sees plenty more innovation in the company’s future. “There are around 200-300 species from the ocean that are consumed globally, giving us an opportunity to be wildly creative from a culinary and technology standpoint.”

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