TIME magazine named Kuleana’s vegan tuna to its coveted list of the 100 Best Inventions of 2021. TIME compiled the list by soliciting nominations from its editors and reporters via an online application process, then evaluating each candidate on key criteria like originality, inventiveness, efficacy, ambition, and impact. Kuleana’s sushi-grade vegan tuna was chosen for its unique ingredient list (algae, koji, radish, bamboo, and potato), as well as its health-promoting characteristics and ability to eliminate commercial tuna harvesting.
“Tasty and nutritious plant-based alternatives for meat and chicken have been available for years. But seafood? Not so much…That’s the void that Kuleana is trying to fill with its 100-percent plant-based, sushi-grade, ready-to-eat tuna …[and it] retains the iron, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acid of the real thing—without the microplastics, mercury, or high cholesterol. And the benefits are more than nutritional—it may also help to alleviate reliance on industrial fishing in the face of increasing demand for fresh food,” TIME wrote.
Kuleana’s vegan tuna was one of only three food category inventions highlighted by TIME, the other two being SAVRpak (a packet that keeps food fresh) and Sfognili cascatelli (a new noodle shape). UPSIDE Chicken (a cell-based chicken created by UPSIDE Foods in California) and MeliBio’s vegan honey received particular accolades from TIME (which uses proprietary technology to create real honey without exploiting bees).
Based in San Francisco, Kuleana was developed to address various issues in the traditional seafood sector, including overfishing, plastic pollution, fish fraud, human slavery, and human health concerns. Its investors include Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Kuleana Tuna, the company’s initial product, may be used in conventional sushi-grade tuna dishes such carpaccio, sashimi, sushi, and ceviche. Vegan tuna is presently available on the menu at Poké Bar and Blue Sushi Sake Grill locations.
Kuleana Tuna was exclusively available in the Los Angeles area’s Erewhon health store until today, when the unique vegan tuna went online through e-tailer GTFO. It’s Vegetarian. Kuleana Tuna is now available in two versions (poké cubes and fillets) for $13.99 per 8.8-ounce container. It has a seven-day refrigerator shelf life and a 12-month freezer shelf life. In a statement, Jacek Prus, CEO and co-founder of Kuleana, said, “We’re providing the next generation of seafood without the environmental consequences…Kuleana is seafood that is good for our palate and our planet.”
In addition to Kuleana, GTFO—which stands for “GreaTFOods”—recently released its own brand of konjac-based vegan sashimi in tuna, salmon, sailfish, and calamari variants, bringing the United States’ plant-based sashimi variety to a new high. GTFO is extending its reach into the lucrative vegan seafood market with its Kuleana cooperation.
“After monitoring tens of thousands of transactions and observing customer purchase patterns on our platform, we believe the next big wave of innovation in plant-based food will come in the category of seafood…We were very excited to find and partner with Kuleana as they truly have a leading-edge plant-based sashimi solution in a category that is rapidly growing. With the taste and texture of this product, we know it will be a winner among our wholesale and retail customers,” Marc Pierce, CEO of GTFO It’s Vegan, said in a statement.
Veganism is honored by TIME
TIME has already acknowledged Kuleana as a vegan innovator. Beyond Sausage was selected to TIME’s 2018 Best 100 Inventions list in 2018, with the company claiming that their maiden attempt into the plant-based pork industry “tastes surprisingly close to the real thing.” TIME named Impossible Foods, a main competitor of Beyond Meat, to its 2019 innovations list for its Impossible Burger 2.0, which improved on the original’s beef-like texture and flavor.
Impossible Foods was also named to TIME’s annual innovators list last year for its Impossible Pork, applauding the plant-based pork’s ability to replace traditionally raised pork, the world’s most consumed meat, which has several environmental drawbacks such as waste pollution.
When it comes to vegans, TIME named climate activist Greta Thunberg “Person of the Year” in 2019, making her the 16-year-old the youngest person ever to hold the title in the magazine’s 92-year history.
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