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Impossible Burger makers have something fishy on tap

Shawn M. Carter

Ultra vegetarians, rejoice. There’s a new option in plant-based eating. Impossible Foods, making waves for its Impossible Burger and other meat and dairy substitutes, is now getting into the seafood market.

The company recently announced it’s working on a fishless fish recipe that contains heme, the same ingredient used to give the Impossible Burger its notable “bleeding” effect and unique taste.

People reacted on social media, with one Twitter user saying she’s "here for it."

But not everyone is on board.

Red Lobster Chief Executive Officer Kim Lopdrup expressed his skepticism for the new project, saying he has no plans of introducing plant-based fish to his menu any time soon.

In a statement to Fox News, Lopdrup said, “At Red Lobster, we have a large variety of healthy, high-quality seafood options that taste good and are good for you. … “I’m personally passionate about eating healthy,” but “we have not yet seen a plant-based seafood product that we would put on our menu.”

Lopdrup isn’t alone in that sentiment. Fast-food chain Arby’s isn’t getting into the mix, either.

In May, a company spokesperson told FOX Business that the restaurant had no plans of creating plant-based meat products. And in July, posted a satire video poking fun at the plant-based foods trend.

"We opened our doors in 1964 offering a 69-cent, premium and abundant roast beef sandwiches while the rest of the competition was selling hamburgers for 15 cents,” the spokesperson added. “While Arby’s has been keeping tabs on this curious new world of 100-percent plant-based products posing as meats, following this trend like everyone else goes against who we are as a business. The chances Arby’s will bring plant-based protein to our menu — now or in the future — are absolutely impossible.”

Still, there may be a bigger market for fishless fish and other meatless foods than some would expect. According to data website Statista, the average American consumer eats more than 14 pounds of fish and shellfish every year. And per research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global market for meat substitutes is expected to grow steadily from an estimated $4.6 billion in 2018 to $6.4 billion by 2023.

This, as other famous brands are getting involved in the new trend. Fast-food giants Burger King and White Castle, along with coffee chains Tim Hortons and Dunkin’ Donuts are few of the latest to add plant-based food items to their menus.

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