Sashimi made with ACF's white fish analogue made from mycoprotein.

Alternative seafood may soon be on a (sushi) roll in Switzerland

Long-life mycoprotein fish analogues are seen as a good fit for workplace 'smart fridges'


Chicago-based Aqua Cultured Foods (ACF), which is developing seafood analogues using microbial fermentation, has signed a supply agreement with Swiss hospitality and catering company SV Group.

ACF’s process uses organic matter, a nutrient-rich feed, and a strain of fungi to grow mycoprotein.

“The end result is a whole protein with a realistic texture and taste to traditional seafood,” the company says on its website. “We’ve developed formulas for tuna, whitefish, squid and shrimp.”

No cholesterol

ACF claims its seafood alternatives are nutritionally superior to both animal and plant-based seafood options available in the market today, with comparable protein and omega-3 fatty acids but no saturated fat or cholesterol. It adds that its products contain no microplastics, mercury, pesticides, antibiotics, dioxin or PCBs.

SV Group is likely to offer ACF's seafood analogues in sushi products in its EMIL smart fridges.

SV Group is committed to sourcing only fish and seafood that meet the recommendations of WWF Switzerland.

“Even with our commitment to using only sustainably produced fish, seafood remains challenging with regards to ensuring it is ethically and responsibly sourced,” the group’s sustainability chief, Dörte Bachmann, told Feed Navigator website. “Plant-based seafood that tastes and performs just like its ocean counterparts is potentially a breakthrough.”

Digital refrigerators

The ACF / SV agreement includes offering ACF products in SV’s “EMIL Fröhlich” brand of digital refrigerators that offer fresh food in workplaces around the clock. Using algorithms, the smart fridge tailors its offerings to the dietary preferences of employees who pay via the EMIL smartphone app.

“We’re especially eager to partner on grab-and-go products for their healthy vending machine and smart fridge segments, because the shelf life of our alt seafood far exceeds that of conventional fish, which is impractical for those settings,” ACF chief executive Anne Palermo told Feed Navigator.

The company says its raw cuts would be best suited to the smart fridges because they don’t need heating before eating. It intends to launch its sushi cuts in the fridges in the form of sushi rolls.

European approval needed

ACF still needs to acquire pre-market authorisation for its novel foods before launching in Europe, which it will pursue once it has received GRAS (Generally Recognised as Safe) approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.

When ACF’s products gain European approval, possibly next year, SV will initially focus on the Swiss market but may then roll them out to its operations in other European countries.

“Currently, the partnership only concerns our operations in Switzerland. However, we would be interested in extending the partnership to Germany and Austria as well,” SV’s head of culinary excellence, Claudio Schmitz, told Feed Navigator.