Trader Joe’s Looks to Release Plant-Based Seafood in Near Future
Trader Joe's has been releasing vegan and plant-based options at a seemingly rapid-fire pace in the past few years. In fact, the beloved retailer has so many great meatless options that we even dedicated an entire guide to the best vegan products to buy at Trader Joe's. The company has hit the mark on plant-based substitutes for nearly every kind of animal protein, including turkeyless and beefless patties, Mandarin "chicken" morsels, chickenless crispy tenders, meatless breakfast patties, soy chorizo, and more.
The only protein category that is noticeably vacant in terms of plant-based alternatives is the seafood section. During a recent episode of Trader Joe’s podcast Inside Trader Joe’s, Amy Gaston-Morales, the category manager of Deli, Frozen Meat, Seafood, Meatless, and Fresh Beverage at Trader Joe's, revealed that the company’s eyes are fixated on tackling seafood.
Trader Joe's Looks to Release Plant-Based Seafood Products
“I’m looking to do more work on the seafood side,” Gaston-Morales said. “We don’t have the option yet within our stores for a plant-based seafood product, but there are crab cakes out of the market or scallops or tuna replacements.” Throughout the podcast episode, she continues to explain that Trader Joe’s has focused on burgers, sausages, breakfast items, and even the famous Mandarin Chicken replacements but never tackled seafood alternatives for vegetarians, vegans, and plant-based eaters alike.
The goal for Trader Joe’s is to provide a shopping center where families can incorporate plant-based options into their normal diets. Seafood substitutes will give families a chance to change it up for dinner without using any fish protein. Trader Joe’s has become a haven for the plant-based shopper, compared to other groceries where finding vegan or vegetarian options can feel like you have to search high and low through each aisle. “So we’re really looking more at the Seafood to make sure that we’ve covered all the proteins that customers are familiar with and bringing in the best versions of those,” Gaston-Morales said.
What Else is Next for TJ's? Maybe Meatless Bacon and Charcuterie
Trader Joe’s champions its talent mimicking texture in plant-based products: Gaston-Morales talks about the Meatless Meatballs as a family favorite, because it fits into a meal seamlessly, without many realizing they're even eating a vegan option. With that as the precedent and plant-based seafood on the horizon, customers can expect something fresh for their TJ’s frozen foods. Plant-based seafood is the priority, but the company is fishing for more. Gaston-Morales hinted at two potential products that may be in the company's future meatless array: Bacon and charcuterie. The company’s outreach to appeal these plant-based items to meat-eating customers isn’t by force-feeding, rather by providing a full buffet of options so that every meal can be plant-based, without compromising on taste.
When the rollout will occur is still unclear, but you can follow the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast to keep up with the retailer's plant-based aspirations. In the meantime, try the Thai Vegetable Gyoza or stir up some easy Meatless Meatball spaghetti for your household.