By Emma Bryce
A California biotech company receives funding to commercialise algae-based prawns, in an attempt to get people switching to more sustainable diets
How do you describe the taste and texture of a prawn? Sort of rubbery; elastic, even. Like chicken, only better. These unappetising phrases hardly capture what makes it so good—the precise reason why prawns (called shrimp in the United States) are one of the most consumed seafoods globally. But now biotech startup New Wave Foods is on a mission to mimic the exact texture and taste of a prawn, in a product made entirely out of algae and plant ingredients.
The small, orangey-pink whorls they’ve created look uncannily like the real thing. But what do they taste like? That’s a question for Dominique Barnes, CEO of California-based New Wave Foods. “We’ve done a few blind taste tests—unofficially, you know—and until we tell people it’s made of plants and algae they can’t tell,” says Barnes, who comes from a background in marine conservation.