Plant-based seafood startup Ocean Hugger said this week it is in the midst of planning a relaunch, according to an interview with Food Navigator.
In June, the New York-based company had to cease operations, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason. Up to that point, Ocean Hugger ran a promising business selling its “tuna” and “eel” products to foodservice businesses. As we’re all too aware these days, the foodservice industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and Ocean Hugger found itself facing no sales and had to stop operations.
Now, however, it appears the company is planning its comeback. An update from August 31 on the Ocean Hugger website states that, “Over the coming months, we will be exploring paths to relaunch bigger and better than ever.”
How the company plans to do that is under wraps for now. Food Navigator notes that new developments should “enable the business to relaunch next year.” Co-founder David Benzaquen suggested to the publication that Ocean Hugger is exploring ways to re-enter the market and also hinted at new products. He gave no further details.
It’s reasonable to imagine that, with the right business model, Ocean Hugger will be successful in its attempt to relaunch. Investment in alternative proteins has already reached over $1.1 billion in 2020, and both plant- and cell-based seafood startups have made many a headline recently. General Mills invested $32 million Good Catch at the beginning of 2020. BlueNalu, which grows cell-based seafood in bioreactors, nabbed a $20 million investment in February. More recently, S2G ventures said it would be investing $100 million in seafood and ocean health startups including alt-protein.
Ocean Hugger has so far raised $500,000 from a funding round in 2019. Benzaquen said in his interview this week that seafood is one of the most obvious areas of animal protein to disrupt from a sustainability and animal welfare angle. If others agree, that investment figure for Ocean Hugger could go up significantly in the future.