Photo: Good Catch Foods.

Yesterday Gathered Foods, the company behind Good Catch plant-based seafood, announced that it had closed a $10 million convertible note round. According to Forbes, the round was led by animal-free protein funds New Crop Capital and Stray Dog Capital. Along with last year’s $8.7 million Series A, this latest round should bring Gathered Foods’ total funding to roughly $18.7 million.

Good Catch makes plant-based tuna using a 6-protein blend and algal oil to give it that distinct ocean-y taste. Each 3.3-ounce pouch of Good Catch tuna — which comes in three flavors — has 14 grams of protein and costs around $4.99. Gathered Foods is also developing a line of frozen entrées, like vegan “crab” cakes and fish-free “whitefish” burgers, which will be available in spring of 2020.

The company will use its new funds to scale production of Good Catch’s plant-based seafood. No wonder — in February of this year the company started rolling out its products in Whole Foods as well as through online grocery providers FreshDirect and Thrive Market. However, their Whole Foods exclusivity ended on May 1st, so we’ll likely start to see them popping up in even more retailers.

To keep up with increased distribution, Gathered Foods is currently building a $20 million manufacturing facility in Ohio which will be able to make a variety of plant-based proteins. Seeing as Good Catch is coming out with a line of faux crab and fish patties, this flexibility makes a lot of sense. They’re aiming to finish the new facility by the end of this year — hopefully that will help them avoid the supply issues other plant-based meat companies have been struggling with as of late.

Good Catch isn’t the only one trying to disrupt the seafood industry with more sustainable, plant-based options. Sophie’s Kitchen has a vegan canned “toona” from springy Japanese yam, and Ocean Hugger Foods turns tomatoes and eggplant into plant-based alternatives to raw fish for sushi.

As cool as all these are, to me they’re just a stop-gap until lab-grown seafood comes to market. Quite a few companies are working on it — Wild Type makes cell-based lox, Shiok Meats makes cultured shrimp, and Finless Foods is developing lab-grown tuna.

Due to high costs, scaling difficulties and regulatory hurdles, however, it’ll be quite a few years before cell-based seafood shows up at our local Whole Foods. Let’s see how far Good Catch gets before then.

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