A plant-based fish company has not been allowed to participate in the upcoming Seafood Expo in Boston.
Atlantic Natural Foods- a US distributor of plant-based seafood alternatives has been denied permission to promote its TUNO product, a soy-based protein with a texture similar to tuna, at the three-day Seafood Expo North America 2020 to be held from March 17-19.
According to Diversified Communications, who are the organizers of the event, their new policy excludes protein products derived from non- aquatic sources.
Speaking to Undercurrent News, Liz Plizga, group vice president for Diversified said: “One of the unique aspects of Seafood Expo North America for our attending buyers is that we are specifically seafood-focused compared to other general food events.
“As we are monitoring this alternative protein option, for 2020, it has been determined that protein products be limited to seafood proteins, where a majority of the product’s ingredients need to be seafood or aquatic in nature.
“Similarly, buyers would not find chicken, pork, or beef products exhibited at the event.”
Doug Hines, founder of Atlantic Natural denounced the new policy as “misguided”. He said: “Despite having seaweed and algae in our product, we were denied admittance to the show.
“We’re not tolerating this non-acceptance and will continue our unwavering mission to help the world feed nine plus billion people by the year 2050 through our line of plant-based products while saving the oceans.”
Food associations such as the US Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA) and the Good Food Institute (GFI) criticized the new policy stating that the move hampered growth opportunities for plant-based companies.
“PBFA supports a free market and a level playing field for plant-based food companies,” said executive director, Michele Simon, in an email to Undercurrent.
“Attempts to limit competition from plant-based food companies stifles innovation and harms consumer choice.”
GFI too mirrored PBFA’s stance; in a statement to Plant Based News, GFI’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative Manager, Jen Lamy said: “The move to disallow the participation of a plant-based seafood company limits the growth of a sustainable, healthy, and just method of producing the same seafood products that consumers want.
“Ensuring that these alternative methods of production are available to buyers in convenient settings like Seafood Expo North America will enhance and increase consumer choice.”
- Read: Opinion: Hypocrite businesses cut ties with SeaWorld but give Disney a pass on dolphin captivity
What do you think of the event organizer’s decision? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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