You Can Now Buy Cans of Vegan “Tuna” at Whole Foods
It seems shoppers are more inclined to try vegan meat alternatives if they're readily available in supermarkets—at least that's the case forvegan "toona," the latest product from plant-based seafood brand Sophie's Kitchen. The new product is causing a frenzy on social media, and for good reason.
According to a Forbes feature by vegan business expert Katrina Fox, Sophie's Kitchen's tuna alternative experienced a 72 percent increase in sales last year when Whole Foods decided to stock the product next to traditional canned tuna in their stores. The faux tuna comes in two different flavors, Sea Salt and Black Pepper, and just like the rest of Sophie's Kitchen items, is free from soy, gluten, and GMOs. Plus, their products are all designated kosher.
What exactly is plant-based tuna made from? The main ingredients are konjac—more commonly known as elephant yam, which is popular in Japanese cuisines—and yellow peas. There are three servings of vegan tuna fish per can, and each serving has 100 calories and 330mg of sodium, which is comparable to traditional canned tuna products.
Sophie's Kitchen is one of the many plant-based products becoming popular with home cooks. Thanks to products like vegan smoked salmon, scallops, fish fillets, and crab cakes, Sophie's Kitchen has created numerous seafood substitutes that both vegans and omnivores have noticed in their supermarkets.
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The brand's founder, Eugene Wang, says placing vegan products such as Sophie's Kitchen's "toona" among their traditional counterparts is one of the reasons why plant-based foods have become so popular.
“Some stores cross-merchandise the cans in the vegan, plant-based, refrigerated section next to vegan mayonnaise too,” Wang told Forbes. “It gives the consumer the idea that these Toonas can be used just like real tuna.”
Sophie's Kitchen isn't the only brand to catch shoppers’ attention by expanding past the "vegan" aisle—the California-based team behind Beyond Meat was the first brand to sell their plant-based burgers next to real beef at Whole Foods, LiveKindly reports. That move turned out to be just as successful for Beyond Meat as it was for Sophie's Kitchen, and other brands are following in their footsteps.
If you're itching to get your hands on vegan tuna fish in your own kitchen, you can snag both flavors of Sophie's Kitchen's tuna—as well as many other vegan seafood varieties—at online retailer Thrive Market, as well as in select Whole Foods stores nationwide.