New School Foods is changing the seafood game with its plant-based salmon filet
Toronto-based plant-based seafood maker, New School Foods, is making waves with its new product: a plant-based filet that looks, cooks, tastes, and flakes just like wild salmon.
By Milo Runkle
This news comes after New School Foods secured $12 million in seed funding, including investment from Joyful Ventures and other investors such as Blue Horizon Ventures and Climate Capital.
New School Foods CEO Christopher Bryson spoke to TechCrunch about the company's journey to create this innovative product. Bryson's passion for alternative seafood began when he learned about the conditions of factory farming and how animals were treated. He explained that the startup ecosystem wasn't rewarding R&D, so he took the angel investor approach and searched for early technologies, especially those that weren't yet utilized for alternative proteins. What he found was a need for more technology addressing whole cuts of proteins, particularly seafood. So, New School Foods 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.
"All these cold steps in our process can use off-the-shelf equipment from adjacent industries that use freezing but not for this purpose, and that’s really important because a lot of the stuff that’s trying to be an alternative to extrusion is pretty science fiction, and there’s no scaled up infrastructure,” Bryson said. “When we’re talking about feeding the world in a relatively short period of time, by using off-the-shelf, scaled-up equipment that does high volume, we can very quickly and reliably get to feeding a very large number of people.”
With the new funding, Bryson plans to continue focusing on R&D, expand the company's team of food scientists, and build a research and production facility in Toronto. New School Foods will also sell through restaurants and has started a chef-only pilot program to create a product council and drum up interest as it readies the product for distribution later this year.
“In parallel to building out our salmon product and refining that with restaurants over the course of this year, we’re also building our own production facilities,” Bryson said. “We also know that this technology has potential way beyond salmon, so we are not planning to stop there.”
Joyful Ventures is excited to be a part of New School Foods' mission to create sustainable and delicious food options for the world.