About 83 percent of the world is worried about the ocean and pollution, but currently, over 4,000 sushi bars operate within the United States. Yves Potvin –– the founder of meat-free brands Gardein and Yves Veggie Cuisine –– announced that he is launching the first frozen vegan sushi and onigiri to give eco-conscious consumers the chance to enjoy planet-friendly sushi at home. The new plant-based seafood will be launched under Potvin's new Konscious Foods brand.

Konscious Foods' initial vegan sushi selection will feature four onigiri and four sushi rolls. The company will debut the plant-based frozen seafood at Whole Food Markets and Choices Markets in Vancouver, British Colombia. The company stated that it plans to extend both its product selection and distribution in the coming year.

The vegan sushi rolls will come in eight pieces, featuring California Rolls, Tuna Avocado Rolls, Spicy California Rolls, and Rainbow Rolls. The two-piece onigiri products feature Japanese Vegetable Curry, Roasted Corn & Poblano, Kale Gomae, and Korean BBQ Mushroom varieties. Potvin expects to expand this selection to include over 20 plant-based seafood products available across North America.

“At Konscious, our chefs create plant-based seafood that people can choose over traditional options for their own health and the health of the planet,” Potvin said in a statement. “We saw a gap that wasn’t being filled. People want choices, regardless of whether that’s for meat or seafood. Here, we match the delicious taste of plant-based sushi and onigiri with the convenience of ready-to-eat meals and snacks.”

From Vegan Meat to Vegan Seafood

Before entering the vegan seafood market, Potvin launched Yves Veggie Cuisine and then helped turn Gardein into an internationally recognized plant-based brand. Now, the vegan leader partnered with Protein Industries Canada (PIC), Merit Foods, and seaweed company Canadian Pacifico Seaweed to launch Konscious Foods. The brand received $15.3 million of funding from these partnering companies. Beyond funding, the partnering companies provide the necessary ingredients and create these sushi alternatives.

The partners claim that the affiliated companies will work together to develop a successfully plant-based sushi brand using sustainable ingredients. With a blend of market expertise and food technology experts, Konscious Foods plans to rapidly expand its market presence. For the last three years, PIC and the industry partners have allocated over $485 million dedicated to expanding Canada's sustainable and plant-based food industries.

“Our skilled team of Konscious chefs has created culinary excellence using quality plant-based ingredients,” Potvin said. “We are grateful for the support from Protein Industries Canada that has helped us to bring this unique line of delicious plant-based sushi and onigiri to grocery freezer aisles. It is our goal to give people the conscious food choices they’ve been waiting for.���

Commercial Fishing is Damaging the Oceans

Despite increased concerns about pollution and climate change, consumers are reluctant to give up their favorite seafood dishes. However, last March, Netflix released a documentary exposing the planetary dangers of the seafood industry entitled Seaspiracy. The documentary intended to raise awareness of the dangers of commercial fishing, claiming that at the current rate, oceans will likely be completely empty by 2048. On top of that, commercial fishing nets account for 46 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Commercial fishing also impacts the fish that consumers eat. One recent study found that regularly consuming seafood impacted by pollution is linked to an increased risk of skin cancer. This relation is attributed to the massive level of toxins and microplastics released into the ocean and consumed by the fish.

Other than Konscious Foods, several plant-based brands have started launching products aimed at convincing seafood lovers to try a more sustainable and healthier option. This week, Vegan Zeastar (which also has a line of plant-based sashimi) debuted its first realistic vegan shrimp.

For the best plant-based seafood available, check out our Beet Meter for the top vegan seafood. 

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