Is Vegan Shrimp Next Up for Nestlé?

Is Vegan Shrimp Next Up for Nestlé?

Swiss multinational Nestlé is working on vegan shrimp.

The plant-based seafood product would join Nestlé’s existing meat-free options such as tuna (labeled Vuna), burgers, meatballs, ground beef, and chicken, as well as its recently launched Wunda milk.

In a recent profile by Swiss news outlet Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said that the company will continue to focus on nutrition, health, and well-being. 

He also revealed that its upcoming plant-based shrimp product is one of his favorite new developments from the company’s food tech laboratories. “They can hardly be distinguished from the original in terms of taste and texture,” Schneider told NZZ.

He added that Nestlé’s food technology has encouraged him to believe that practically any animal-based protein could be replaced by plants.

Nestlé declined LIVEKINDLY’s request for further details on its plant-based shrimp.

Vegan Shrimp

Some experts predict that plant-based seafood could be the next big thing in the vegan market. Many consumers are increasingly aware of the huge impact fishing and seafood farming (yes, including shrimp) has on the environment.

While Nestlé could be one of the largest early adopters of vegan shrimp, they are certainly not the first. Plant-based seafood brand Sophie’s Kitchen produces breaded vegan shrimp, which is available in both U.S. supermarkets (such as Walmart) and UK supermarkets (such as Sainsbury’s).

Dutch company Vegan ZeaStar also sells a variety of plant-based seafood items, including its breaded, lemon-flavored King Prawn-style shrimp, while Quorn has its own “fishless” scampi—both of which are available in the UK via online shopping platform Ocado.

Nestlé and Plant-Based Foods

Nestlé’s increasing emphasis on plant-based foods, health, and sustainability is not the only change for the company, which has undergone a significant transformation over the last four and a half years since Schneider took over as CEO.

This includes its expanded vegan and vegetarian ranges, as well as an ambitious climate action plan: net zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2050, including its suppliers.

Schneider explained to NZZ that the majority of the changes he has initiated in his time at Nestlé so far falls into two categories: “Good for you,” and “good for the planet.” Both major trends that Nestlé—along with the vast majority of multinational corporations—is attempting to reconcile with its size, business practices, and product line.

In the first half of 2020 alone, the brand’s vegetarian and vegan range grew by 40 percent. Plant-based meat sales from the entire year earned the company CHF 200 million (approximately $222.6 million).

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Editor’s note: Since publication, LIVEKINDLY has corrected this article. Nestlé earned CHF 200 million in sales for plant-based meat sales alone, not for plant-based food sales in general.