Fine fish, completely plant-based
“No food producer has managed to create a plant-based alternative to fish that also meets our demands for good flavour. We saw that there was a gap in the market and we wanted to fill it,” says Ola Secher, one of the two founders of Nothing Fishy, the incubator company that has developed and produced a vegan fish substitute.
Chefs Ola Secher and Jared Christensen are the brains behind Nothing Fishy. Ola specialises in molecular gastronomy and has several years of experience from various leading positions in food service and retail. Jared previously ran the company Ekko Gourmet.
In March 2021, they started experimenting at home in their kitchens in Vadensjö (outside of Landskrona) and Malmö to find a good vegan alternative to fish. After many hours in their kitchens, consumer tests confirmed the success of their work. Families and children aged 4–12 who were selected to test the products gave the thumbs up.
“We tested our ‘fish’ on children first, not only because they are an important target group, but also because they are the most critical and give honest answers. Many children have told us that this is the best fish they have ever eaten, which is a good rating,” says Ola with a smile.
Just a few months after the first experiments at home in their kitchens, Ola and Jared were ready to start production. In Simrishamn, they found a good partner to get started.
“It is a challenge to go from a 150 g to a 200 kg test run. Everything has to be right – speed, temperature and time. As little as one gram of error can make the difference between perfect nuggets and semolina porridge,” explains Ola.
But everything has gone according to plan. In Simrishamn, they are now producing nuggets, burgers and fillets.
Flavour and consistency
Taste, texture and nutritional content have played a key role in product development. The products are based on wheat starch, algae, water and rapeseed oil. They also contain a full omega-3 oil from algae and are enriched with vitamins such as B12, selenium and iron.
“In terms of nutrients, the products have 1.6 times more omega-3 than the equivalent white fish,” says Ola.
Just over 1.5 years ago, Nothing Fishy launched its products in food service. Today, the brand is served in restaurants as well as schools.
Nothing Fishy is now ready to take the next step. They aim to launch in grocery stores after the summer. During the spring, they brought in two investors who contribute both capital as well as experience and networks. With an injection of capital, they are ready to start building a sales organisation and invest further in marketing.
“I am convinced that the vegan fish will be a big seller, especially to families with children,” says Ola.