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Nothing fishy about this: Whole Foods launches plant-based tuna alternative for sushi

The plant-based option provides an alternative to special niche customers such as pregnant women or children too young to safely eat the mercury often found in raw fish.

Whole Foods will begin selling Ahimi, a plant-based alternative to raw tuna in New York and Los Angeles, according to the company.

Developed by Ocean Hugger Foods, the substitute is primarily made from tomato and other ingredients.



The company claims that the tomato-based product doesn't taste like a portion of tomato, but rather, replicates the taste of fish, thanks to "umami-rich ingredients."

Although the new creation hopes to reproduce the texture and flavour of ahi tuna, it is vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

“A tasty, vegan option for raw tuna is at the intersection of a few major trends, including the growing popularity of sushi, as well as the surge in plant-based diets and dishes,” said Andy Sasser, global category manager at Whole Foods Market. “

We love when we can bring shoppers something delicious that’s never been done before, and Ahimi does just that.”

Supermarket sushi is a burgeoning market in the food sector, with sales of packaged varieties up US$500mn over the past two years, according to Nielsen Fresh.

Whilst sushi is marketed as a clean and healthy product, some lingering concerns such as sustainability and mercury content are an issue for consumers.

Whole Foods’ plant-based alternative hopes to address those concerns.

Furthermore, it also offers another plant-based product to meet the growing consumer demand for vegetarian and vegan options.

The faux-tuna product, Ahimi, will be available in selected stores in New York and Los Angeles from the beginning of November.

Customers will be able to try it in two dishes - the Ahimi Nigiri and Roll Combo, and the California Roll.