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Tyson invests in plant-based shrimp company New Wave Foods

Ann Schmidt

Tyson Foods Inc. is getting in on the ground floor of the next food alternative: plant-based shrimp.

The chicken, beef and pork processor announced Thursday that it has invested in New Wave Foods, a company based in San Francisco that is working on producing plant-based shellfish.

“We’re excited about this investment in the fast-growing segment of the plant-based protein market,” Amy Tu, president of Tyson Ventures, said in a statement.

This new alternative is expected to be ready for foodservice operators by early next year, the announcement said.

Tyson invested in New Wave Foods through its Tyson Ventures branch, which was started in December 2016 as a way for the company to invest in food businesses with new products or technology, according to the announcement.

“This continues our focus of identifying and investing in companies with disruptive products and breakthrough technologies related to our core business so we can continue to serve a growing global population,” Tu said.

The shrimp is made with seaweed and plant protein and has the eight amino acids found in all meat and seafood, according to the announcement.

New Wave’s shrimp alternative also has no allergens, zero cholesterol, has fewer calories and less salt than real shrimp.

“Our plant-based shrimp cooks and tastes just like the real thing, and it matches the texture, taste, performance and versatility of shrimp fresh from the ocean,” Mary McGovern, CEO of New Wave Foods, said in the statement. “It gives chefs and food service operators great menu options while addressing consumers’ growing demand for sustainable choices.”

New Wave is expecting to launch its Series A round of funding “in the near future,” the announcement said.

Tyson, one of the largest meat producers in the world, is attempting to beat out companies like Beyond Meat, which sells plant-based meat products in grocery stores nationwide.

In 2016, Tyson Ventures acquired a 5% stake in Beyond Meat, but the company sold that stake before Beyond Meat’s IPO in May. However, the company wasn’t stepping away from plant-based meats.

Instead, Tyson announced the launch of its own plant-based meat alternatives in June.

Under the brand Raised & Rooted, Tyson released nuggets made from pea protein, which will be available in 5,000 stores by the end of this month.  The brand also has a burger made from a blend of beef and pea protein, which is expected to be available later this fall.


Justin Whitmore, who leads Tyson's alternative protein business, said the company plans to release more alternative meat products in the future under Raised and Rooted and other brands it owns.

FOX Business’ Katherine Lam and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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