Impossible Foods Is Developing Fishless Fish – Here’s Why That’s Important

updated Jul 12, 2019
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Credit: Leela Cyd

In the battle for faux-meat supremacy, Impossible Foods and the company’s signature product, the Impossible Burger, have been a major part of the discussion. Now, the company has revealed that they’re working on their first imitation fish product.

Impossible Food’s mission statement is to eliminate the need for any animal products in our food system, so it makes sense that they would be working on faux fish. The New York Times reports that the company uses a proprietary heme protein product to imitate the fish flavor. But don’t get too excited about fillet o’ heme quite yet. The company’s initial foray into the seafood business started with an anchovy-flavored broth that they used to make paella (it apparently also works for a Caesar dressing) — in other words, things that require fish flavor but not necessarily texture.

That said, the implications of the project as it moves toward a more complete imitation fish are important. Much like the lightened environmental load for the fake meat when compared to the cattle industry, there is a severe need to relieve the stresses of the seafood industry. While the U.S. holds the seafood industry to a fairly high and sustainable bar, as a seafood writer I often speak to fishermen in the Caribbean or Mexico who note that within their own generation, they’ve watched the fish disappear from their waters. In parts of Asia, the shrimp that most commonly hits American shelves is often produced by slave labor — read the AP’s Pulitzer-prize-winning piece on the matter and check out the new documentary Ghost Fleet for more information.

The faux-fish industry is even newer than the faux-meat industry, which means there are even more questions brought up by the innovation than there were with the meat. But much like with the Impossible Burger, it is good to know that even if we aren’t all the way there yet, there are people working on how we can lessen the burden we currently place on the world’s oceans.