Vgarden's plant-based tuna analogue comes in a tin for non-chilled storage.
Vgarden's plant-based tuna analogue comes in a tin for non-chilled storage.

Tin it to win it

New plant-based tuna is packaged like the real thing

Published

A pea-based alternative tuna product has been launched that its makers say not only looks, feels and tastes like the real fish but also comes in tuna’s most familiar packaging – a tin.

Israeli company Vgarden spent a year developing the tuna analogue that can be canned and sterilised at high temperatures, yet still retain its full flavour and texture. The company has filed a patent for the formula and process.

“Tinned tuna has a very distinct flaky, yet moist and chewy texture, with a powerful fresh-from-the sea aroma,” said Vgarden chief executive Ilan Adut in a press release.

“Our new tuna-like product is clean-label, scalable, affordable, and sustainable. But for our plant-based creation to serve as a true substitute, even beyond compellingly mimicking all of the sensory qualities, it also has to match tuna as much as possible in nutritional value.”

A salad made with Vgarden's plant-based tuna.
A salad made with Vgarden's plant-based tuna.

Vgarden’s tuna analogue is based on pea protein, with a total protein content of 11.2-14%, before and after filtration. It contains a short list of natural ingredients including fibres and sunflower oil.

The company says the tuna analogue is crafted to satisfy the appetites of a growing pool of sustainability-driven consumers concerned by overfished and rapidly declining ocean populations of wild tuna.

The product is available in pouches for chilled storage and tins for non-chilled storage.

Vgarden, founded in 2017, already has launched a variety of meat and dairy alternatives under its MashuMashu brand in Israel, a country with more vegans and vegetarians per capita than any other Western nation.

The company said its collection of faux firm cheeses are also tracking well in Australia, Canada, Asia and Europe, including generating interest among food manufacturers and foodservice operations in Germany and Austria.

Vgarden recently attained more than US $15 million in strategic initial funding from Leumi Partners to boost product development and international activity.