Tuna without the mercury and fish burgers without the fish.
301 Inc., the venture arm of General Mills, and a handful of other venture capitalists are investing more than
The proceeds will be used to build a new plant and expand Good Catch across three continents.
The vegan products are some of the first seafood alternatives to bubble up in the fast-growing plant-based foods space. The investment also solidifies 301 Inc.'s role as the conduit through which
Demand has soared for plant-based burgers from firms like
Unlike many other food startups that begin in a founder's kitchen, Good Catch was started by serial entrepreneurs and impact investors who were looking for a vegan seafood company to invest in. When they couldn't find one that matched their criteria, they started it themselves, said
The team spent a year and a half focused on the "mouthfeel" of its shelf-stable tuna product, which is the hardest part of emulating a plant-based protein, he said. It's products are made from six types of legumes -- peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans and navy beans. Algae oil, or algal oil, from sea algae gives the products a fishy flavor as well as the DHA Omega-3 fatty acids that many consumers associate with seafood.
Good Catch's first product is a shelf-stable albacore tuna alternative that has been rolled out in three varieties to nearly 5,000 stores. In early June, it plans to launch frozen entrees, like plant-based fish burgers and crabcakes.
"Seafood is considered to be a healthy alternative to meat," Kerr said. "The problem is it comes with a lot of collateral damage. Tuna has mercury in it. Odds are it has microplastics."
The startup highlights the nutritional similarities between their products and real tuna and the absence of microplastics, microfibers, mercury, GMOs and dairy -- good news for vegans and pregnant women, who are told to avoid foods with high levels of mercury. The founders also point to the strain on global fisheries as another reason to consider alternatives.
General Mills isn't a protein company nor a plant-based food company, though it recently announced plant-based yogurt. But more than half of 301's investments have been plant-based foods, like No Cow protein bars and
"We do have the opportunity to lead the company in exploration of these emerging spaces,"
Haugen sees some similarities between Good Catch today and
"What I think is vastly different is awareness of plant-based solutions compared to six years ago," Haugen said. "We have a whole new generation of consumers who understand they can have great tasting products that fit their food values. In some ways the road has been paved for consumers to accept it. People aren't as familiar with the stresses on the sea [as they were with industrialized meat production] and I think that's a story you will start to hear more about."
Good Catch plans to use funds from this large investment round to complete construction on its 42,000-square-foot production facility near
The funding round was led by
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