With the demand for seafood on the rise and the ocean stripped of fish, plant-based salmon offers a sustainable way forward.

IIt is estimated that by 2050 the demand for food in general will increase by 70%, while the demand for seafood will increase by 100%. The demand for seafood increases on average by 12% each year. Let us keep in mind that 8 kg of feed is required to produce 1 kg of red meat, while only 1 kg is required to produce 1 kg of fish.

There have been a number of scientific and commercial breakthroughs to solve these projected increases in food demand. Perhaps the most striking of these is “vegetarian meat”. The CEO of a plant-based meat producer recently argued that they will “finish the meat industry by 2035.” Likewise, the innovation that came with genetically modified salmon in seafood in the 2000s continues to produce plant-based salmon meat.

In 2013, scientists began demonstrating that meat could be produced in laboratories. Mark Post, a professor at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, went even further and commercialized lab-grown meat. Meat is mostly a mixture of muscle cells, fat, and connective tissue. Meat formation begins when the proper nutrients are provided for its development, starting with stem cells. Thus, lab meat is antibiotic-free, drug-free, healthier, and safer. We should expect to see continued increase in shelf space and market share of these synthetic products due to their many benefits from the environment to human health, and from economics to animal welfare.

Humans consumed plant meat (2,555 years ago) only 0.098% of the time period in which their ancestors consumed animal meat (2,600,000 years ago). Similarly, humans ate cell-based meat (7 years ago) only 0.274% of the time period they ate plant-based meat. Credit: Rubio et al. the.

Although soybeans mainly provide the plant food environment, yellow peas have been found to be the most suitable. Here, the texture of the vegetable protein (soybean) offers a meat-like flavor, while the color is provided by leghemoglobin obtained from the roots of the soybean. However, since the plant hemoglobin in question is low in soybeans, the coloration was initiated by one species of yeast (Pichia pastoris). These yeasts in the range of genetically modified products are not subject to biotechnology regulations in the United States of America or the European Union.

The production of vegetable protein has also been marketed for red meat tuna. In addition, chicken and beef are also offered to the market. Eggs, milk, cheese, oil and vegetable yoghurts are beginning to appear on market shelves. The plant protein movement has caused such concern to manufacturers of animal products that they have created regulations about the use of words such as “meat”, “milk”, “yogurt”, “oil” or even their images in the promotion and marketing of these products. Both sides have been vocal about their views of each other’s market potential. While animal producers have argued that plant-based protein can’t come close to “the real deal,” executives of plant-based food companies, like the one mentioned earlier, are very optimistic about the future of this market.

The quality of plant-based products developed with the latest biotechnological advances and innovations is no different from the quality of regular meat, milk and eggs. In addition, researchers point to the advantage of fiber in plant products which is the main requirement for animals. It’s also true that plant-based products contain more sodium than regular meat. Vegetable protein producers also go through a series of enrichment processes such as vitamins D and B12 in order to achieve true meat quality.

Automated plant protein facility capable of producing 4,000 metric tons of plant products in one year. Credit: The Straits Times

When it comes to plant-based fish, stem cells from salmon are cultured into a plant-based skeleton to produce flavor and texture. However, there are some production limitations: the product is currently designed for raw consumption, specifically for the sushi industry. In the culture stage, the cells fuse with the skeleton and direct the cells to turn into fat or tissue, resulting in the appearance and taste of salmon meat.

In 2015, AquaBounty Technologies received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to manufacture and market genetically modified (GMO) salmon. GM salmon can grow throughout the year and thus grow rapidly (unlike regular salmon which can only thrive in warm months) and reach market maturity in 16-18 months (vs. 30 months for regular salmon). Farm-raised Atlantic salmon is a productive model that does not require antibiotics and reduces feed consumption by 10%. Cheaper and less labor-intensive production of transgenic salmon provides additional economic benefits to the producer and consumer.

Credit: Paul Darrow/The New York Times

In addition to these genetic advances, adaptation initiatives will contribute to an increase in global fish stocks as is the case with Turkish and Black Sea salmon. For Turkish salmon, which achieved an export figure of $200 million in the first nine months of 2022, the authorities expect to produce 100,000 tons and export $500 million next year, and 200,000 tons produce and export $1 billion for 2030.

We certainly won’t have any fish shortages in the future, what do you think?

Dr. Nazemi Acıköz is an analyst and writer based in Izmir, Turkey. He studied at the University of Ankara and obtained a PhD from the Technical University of Munich, and was also an honorary professor of plant breeding at Ege University. Follow Nazemy on Twitter @tweet

A version of this article was originally published on There is no chance of a food crisis It is used here with permission

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