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California—New Wave Foods’ Imitation Shrimp




Since 2015, New Wave Foods, a California-based startup, has been developing the world’s first imitation shrimp product made from algae and plants.  New Wave has begun rolling out its product to schools and catering companies, and by early 2018, it plans to begin retailing it in California and Nevada.


Concerned about the sustainability of shrimp, Google contacted New Wave because it wanted to reduce the amount of shrimp it was serving to its staff.  When Google’s executive chef tasted New Wave’s shrimp, he immediately placed an order.


In an interview with New Wave Foods co-founder Dominique Barnes, Robin Scher a reporter for AlterNet, an award-winning online news magazine, asked her the following questions.


Robin Scher: I guess the key to its success comes down to accurately re-creating the taste, texture and look of the real deal.  Without giving away too many of your secrets, can you explain how you have gone about trying to do this using plants and algae?  And the million-dollar question: has it worked?


Dominique Barnes: Shrimp has a unique texture.  To get that right, we tapped into the expertise of my co-founder Michelle Wolf, a materials scientist engineer.  She looked at the molecular level of shrimp tails to understand what gives them their textural properties.  We used that data to select our plant and algae ingredients, which gave us the same texture as shrimp.  Being able to achieve that was a first.


As for appearance, we found a red algae extract that is actually the same compound that gives shrimp its color.  We have used that to give a really authentic color to our shrimp, because most of us eat with our eyes first.


Has it worked?  At an aquaculture event, when we gave people samples of our shrimp, they said it tasted great and asked where we were raising them!


Robin Scher: Do you feel like the market is ready for your shrimp, and what are your plans for distribution?


Dominique Barnes: First, we’re targeting food service, corporate dining and colleges and universities.  In fact, universities are some of the earliest adopters; they’re really progressive in the sense that they’re offering more and more plant-based and vegan meals.


Robin Scher: Has it been approved for that sort of rollout?


Dominique Barnes: Yep, we want to be first movers in this space, the first with the idea, the first with the product, the first to scale it up, and the first to market.  All of our ingredients and processes are FDA approved.


Video: For a three-minute video of New Wave Foods CEO Dominique Barnes being interview by reporter Robin Scher who tastes the imitation shrimp, scroll to the end of the article in the source/link below.


Information: Dominique Barnes and Michelle Wolf, New Wave Foods, 485 Jessie Street, San Francisco, California 94610, USA (phone 1-925-360-8386, email, webpage


Source: AlterNet.  Why Plant-Based Shrimp in the Next Veggie Burger.  Robin Scher.  October 18, 2017.


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