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Frutti di mare vegani? L’idea potrebbe far storcere il naso a qualche integralista della cucina carnivora, ma è (letteralmente) sul piatto. 


Lo sviluppo di frutti di mare vegani è in fase iniziale e occupa solo una piccola fetta (l’1%) del mercato di alimenti a ma la ricerca e lo sviluppo, in merito proseguono, e con risultati parecchio incoraggianti.

Non tanto dal punto di vista della produzione che è ancora alle prese con non poche difficoltà (soprattutto rispetto a consistenza e sapore) quanto per la richiesta da parte del mercato, che sembra molto interessato a prodotti del genere. Il mercato di prodotti alimentari vegani è cresciuto del 600% negli Usa e del 350% in Uk negli ultimi tre anni. E si stima crescerà ancora (con percentuali ancora maggiori) in futuro. Già oggi il settore muove circa 5 miliardi. 

Seafood is difficult to veganise well, but some companies are betting on new technologies and customers to overcome the challenges.

Seaweed-wrapped deep-fried tofu, served in newspaper. Marinated aubergine slices pressed over rice. Chunks of legume protein coated in oil and herbs. These products are intended to mimic various fish dishes – fish and chips, unagi, canned tuna – and they’re all available now.

Faux seafood isn’t entirely new, but products are limited and many of those that have been available so far have been underwhelming and undermarketed. These range from bland tofish and chips served in pubs to rubbery faux shrimp sold in Chinese grocers’ freezer sections, part of the long tradition of imitation meats in Chinese Buddhist cuisine.

These products are ripe for the kind of innovation that has driven and expanded the plant-based meat industry. Yet faux seafood manufacturers seeking to make niche products mainstream face some unique challenges, from cultivating great taste and texture through to scaling costs for ambitious new offerings.

Small market, challenging product

At the moment, faux seafood is a tiny sector in the food supply chain. In the US, the country with the most vegan seafood start-ups, plant-based seafood made up only 1% ($9.5m) of the dollar amount of all retail sales of plant-based meat in 2019. (And plant-based meat, in turn, made up 1% of total meat sales.) Total research and development on alternative seafood has only amounted to $10m–$20m so far.

Articolo originale di https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200603-vegan-seafood-the-next-plant-based-meat-trend