The traditional flavors of a lox bagel are typically derived from combining two animal products: dairy cream cheese and smoked salmon with accouterments such as capers, onions, and dill. But what about those of us who don’t want to consume animal products? Trader Joe’s has just the thing.
The new Vegan Salmonesque Spread at the grocery chain is a combination of everything we love about a lox bagel made without harming animals on land or sea. This new product is made with a base of dairy-free cream cheese mixed with vegan mayo and konjac-based salmon, along with capers, lemon juice, dill weed, and other flavorings.
The innovative bagel topper is rolling out at Trader Joe’s nationwide and is stocked in the store’s refrigerated section for $4.29 per 8-ounce tub.
Vegan fish at Trader Joe’s
The new vegan fish spread makes good on Trader Joe’s promise to develop more plant-based products for every category in store, including fish. The store does offer vegan jackfruit-based crab cakes in its freezer aisle but Amy Gaston-Morales—Category Manager of Deli, Frozen Meat, Seafood, Meatless, and Fresh Beverage at Trader Joe’s—explained last year that more vegan seafood options were in the works for every meal of the day.
“I’m looking to do more work on the seafood side,” Gaston-Morales revealed in an episode of the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast. “We don’t have options yet within our stores for a plant-based seafood product but there are crab cakes out on the market or scallops or tuna replacements.”
The new vegan Salmonesque spread is a similar product to Miyoko’s Creamery Unlox Your Dreams, an offering Trader Joe’s previously stocked in its refrigerated section.
Vegan fish spreads globally
Trader Joe’s new Salmonesque spread is part of a growing vegan seafood trend that responds to a need for solutions to alleviate pressure from the world’s oceans, which have been ravaged by industrial fishing.
In addition to Trader Joe’s new vegan spread, similar products in the vegan fish spread category have launched to help consumers make truly sustainable choices. Available at Whole Foods Markets, California-based brand JINKA offers three flavors of its vegan tuna spread: Original, Lemon & Dill, and Spicy.
“Americans eat more than 1 billion pounds of tuna every year, so converting even a fraction of those consumers to JINKA’s tasty, fish-free alternative can have an enormous impact on the health of our oceans and the animals that live in them,” JINKA Founder and CEO Alberta Liao said in a statement.
In Europe, German brand BettaF!sh makes a vegan “tunah” spread made from a blend of fava beans and ocean-grown seaweed. After launching its vegan tuna sandwiches at 4,000 ALDI stores last year, the company is currently in the midst of expanding to five countries, which will soon be able to try its vegan tuna spread in Au Naturel, Olive, Tomato & Chilli, and Caper & Pepper flavors.
This week, the company announced its vegan tuna spreads will be available in 12 cities in the Netherlands via grocery delivery platform Gorillas, with further expansion planned into regions such as the United Kingdom.
From Trader Joe’s to Jinka to BettaF!sh, these vegan fish products bolster the myriad options coming to market in a concerted effort to give consumers choices that have the potential to take pressure off of our global ocean ecosystems.
Even more sustainable vegan seafood
How can vegan seafood be even more sustainable? One way is to bring other aquaculture businesses along for the ride. In Europe, BettaF!sh is partnered with Nordic Oceanfruit to supply its seaweed components. This sister company cultivates its seaweed in the ocean, removing reliance on freshwater resources and creating additional benefits such as promoting biodiversity and reducing acidification.
US-based The Plant Based Seafood Company is becoming even more sustainable with a similar partnership it just announced with fellow woman-led business Atlantic Sea Farms. Backed by Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio, The Plant Based Seafood Company was founded by Shelly Van Cleve and Monica Talbert, a mother-and-daughter duo with 20 years of seafood industry experience under the Van Cleve Seafood Co.
The Plant Based Seafood Co.
Based on Gwynn’s Island in the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, the company produces a variety of vegan seafood with the mission of restoring the oceans. Under its new partnership, the company will reformulate its MindBlown shrimp, scallops, and crab cakes using kelp grown by Atlantic Sea Farms, adding nutrients and umami flavors. This business engages in regenerative aquaculture and has removed 260,000 pounds of carbon with its kelp harvest in Main in just four seasons.
This partnership helps build a modern seafood industry where a rising tide can lift all boats. “We’re thrilled to work with Monica and her team on these outstanding new products,” Atlantic Sea Farms Founder Bri Warner said in a statement. “We are two women-run companies working tirelessly to help diversify coastal incomes, improve our food system, and restore our oceans in the face of climate change. In my view, it doesn’t get much more transformative than that.”