New Wave Foods announced today it has closed an $18 million Series A round for its plant-based seafood alternatives. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates and Evolution VC Partners with participation from “other new and existing investors,” according to a press release sent to The Spoon.
The new round will enable New Wave Foods to scale up production and expand sales and marketing, as well as build out its team and plan for future products. Initially, the company will sell its products directly to restaurants and foodservice businesses, where it says roughly 80 percent of all shrimp in the U.S. is consumed.
Currently, New Wave Foods makes a shrimp alternative from seaweed and plant proteins, the idea being to provide a more planet-friendly version of the U.S.’s most popular seafood item. Deforestation and the permanent destruction of mangroves, increased greenhouse gases, and human rights abuses are just a few of the unsavory byproducts of traditional shrimp production. With its shrimp alternative, New Wave Foods wants to provide product that is “virtually indistinguishable from ocean shrimp in terms of taste and texture” but doesn’t come with the environmental and human consequences tied to parts of the traditional fishing industry.
Tyson Foods made an undisclosed investment in New Wave Foods in 2019, taking a minority stake of less than 20 percent.
Speaking in today’s press release, New Wave said that its shrimp product will be versatile enough to fit in a range of different dishes, though the company hasn’t yet publicly named any official restaurant or foodservice partners.
Following the launch of its shrimp product, New Wave Foods plans to develop plant-based lobster, scallops, and crab.