CHICAGO, Ill. – Food tech startup Aqua Cultured Foods on Thursday announced an agreement with SV Group, a leading Swiss hospitality and catering company, to bring Aqua’s seafood alternatives to SV Group’s smart fridges, cafeterias and event venue clients.
SV Group is a leading hospitality and hotel management group based in Dübendorf. The group is active in several business areas: Business and campus catering, hotels featuring its own brands as well as other renowned brands as franchisee, public restaurants with innovative concepts, and culinary delivery services.
Embedded in SV Group’s sustainability strategy is its commitment to the Planetary Health Diet based on the recommendations in 2019’s EAT-Lancet Commission Report. For environmental as well as human health, SV Group focuses on a plant-based cuisine with a high proportion of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Meat and dairy products are part of the diet, but to a much smaller extent. In addition, SV Group is committed to using only fish and seafood that meet the recommendations of WWF Switzerland.
“Even with our commitment to using only sustainably produced fish, seafood remains challenging with regards to ensuring it is ethically and responsibly sourced. Plant-based seafood that tastes and performs just like its ocean counterparts is potentially a breakthrough,” said Dörte Bachmann, head of sustainability at SV Group. “Our north star is bringing sustainability directly to our guests’ plates, so we take every opportunity to improve our environmental footprint, and that begins with working with suppliers that share those values.”
“SV Group represents innovation in every way, from modern, high-tech systems to promoting environmentally sound plant-based menus,” said Aqua CEO Anne Palermo. “We’re especially eager to partner on grab-and-go products for their healthy vending machine and smart fridge segments, because the shelf life of our alt-seafood far exceeds that of conventional fish, which is impractical for those settings.”
Aqua is developing mycoprotein-based calamari, shrimp, scallops, and filets of animal-free tuna and whitefish with a realistic taste and texture. Aqua’s fermentation methods do not use any animal inputs, genetic altering or modification, and can be marketed as non-GMO. Unlike plant-based processed foods formulated with starches and protein isolates, Aqua’s alt-seafood retains its naturally occurring fiber, protein, and other micronutrients.
Aqua has recently showcased its alt-seafood for current and prospective partners representing Europe, Asia, and North America. Public tasting events will gauge consumer acceptance later this year with select restaurant partners, followed by in-market product introductions via strategic partners in 2023.