USA – Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods has invested in San Francisco-based producer of plant-based seafood alternatives, New Wave Foods.

Founded by marine biologist Dominique Barnes and chief technology officer Michelle Wolf, New Wave Foods has developed a method to create plant-based shellfish, and plans to have a shrimp alternative ready for foodservice operators in early 2020.

According to New Wave Foods, the plant-based product contains all eight essential amino acids commonly found in meat and fish, and that the product contains no allergens, zero cholesterol and is lower in both calories and salt than real shrimp.

The company’s first product, a plant-based shrimp, is made with sustainably-sourced seaweed and plant protein.

Shrimp is the most consumed seafood in the world, according to co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Michelle Wolf. New Wave is also planning to use crab and lobster.

Mary McGovern, CEO of New Wave Foods said: “We worked with the Culinary Institute of America to set the gold standard for this product and then created a plant-based shrimp that has had rave reviews from the thousands of people who have tasted it.

“Our plant-based shrimp cooks and tastes just like the real thing, and it matches the texture, taste, performance and versatility of shrimp fresh from the ocean. The proof is in the overwhelming, positive response we have had to the product.”

Tyson will leverage its scale and network to help accelerate New Wave’s growth. Tyson already has a line of alternative protein products that it launched earlier this year.

Amy Tu, president of Tyson Ventures added: “We’re excited about this investment in the fast-growing segment of the plant-based protein market.

“This continues our focus of identifying and investing in companies with disruptive products and breakthrough technologies related to our core business so we can continue to serve a growing global population.”

New Wave is Tyson Ventures’ ninth investment since starting the fund in 2016 and Tyson’s latest foray into the increasingly competitive market for alternative meats.

The company was also an investor in Beyond Meat prior to its public offering and is also backing the lab-grown meat company Memphis Meats.