Largest Poke Chain in the USA Introduces Vegan Seafood

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# USA’s Biggest Poke Chain Adds Vegan Seafood to Menu

Pokeworks, the largest poke chain in the USA, has made a groundbreaking addition to its menu by introducing vegan “seafood”. The franchise, founded in 2015, is currently offering plant-based tuna from Impact Food at its Irvine, California location as a trial run, with the possibility of extending it based on customer feedback.

Impact Food, the supplier of this innovative vegan seafood, creates its tuna using a combination of pea protein and seaweed. According to the brand, this unique blend results in a delectable umami taste and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Not only is this product a sustainable alternative to conventional tuna, but it also offers valuable nutrition.

Mike Chen, co-founder and president of Pokeworks, stated that they have tried various plant-based tuna alternatives and believe that Impact Tuna has the best texture and taste in its class. The goal is to create a signature Pokeworks dish using Impact Tuna, thereby generating new demand for sustainable eating.

## Rise in Popularity of Vegan Seafood

While the vegan “seafood” market has seen slower development compared to other meat alternatives, it has experienced significant growth in recent years. According to a report published in November 2022, the market is projected to reach a value of $1.3 billion by 2031, implying a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 42.3%. The report highlights the driving factors behind this growth, including the depletion of natural ocean resources, an increase in the vegan population, pressure on the global food supply chain, and growing awareness about animal welfare and cruelty in farms.

## The Problem with Seafood

The fishing industry is responsible for an overwhelming number of fish deaths each year, estimated to be in the range of 2-3 trillion individuals. Recent evidence suggests that fish are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, raising concerns about the immense suffering caused by the fishing industry.

Approximately half of the fish consumed worldwide are sourced from farms, which unfortunately lack adequate legal protections for these aquatic creatures. Investigations have revealed widespread cruelty in fish farms, with fish often being reared in cramped enclosures in rivers, lakes, or the sea. Disease is rampant in such captive conditions, exacerbated by the presence of parasitic creatures that feast on farmed fish, leading to sores and scale loss.

The industrial fishing industry employs methods such as “bottom trawling”, which involves dragging massive weighted nets across the ocean floor. This indiscriminate practice results in the death of countless species and the destruction of coral reefs and vital ocean ecosystems. Another method, “longlines”, consists of mile-long lines with hooks spaced at regular intervals.

## Embracing Sustainable Alternatives

The introduction of vegan seafood options by Pokeworks demonstrates a commitment to exploring sustainable alternatives to traditional fishing practices. By incorporating plant-based tuna from Impact Food into their menu, the franchise aims to meet the evolving demands of environmentally-conscious consumers and contribute to a more ethical and compassionate food system.

The availability and acceptance of vegan seafood is a positive step towards reducing the detrimental impact of the fishing industry on marine life and the environment. It offers people the opportunity to enjoy the flavors and textures they love while making a conscious choice to protect our oceans and promote animal welfare. With the growth of the vegan seafood market and increasing awareness, the potential for a more sustainable future is within reach.

So, whether you are a committed vegan or simply curious about trying new culinary experiences, consider exploring the expanding realm of vegan seafood and join the movement towards a more compassionate and sustainable world.

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