Whole Foods Market, an Amazon-owned grocery chain, is planning to release a plant-based sushi for vegetarians, vegans and omnivores on November 1.
The new product will be added to sushi bars in the New York and Los Angeles markets, Quartz reported. It was first created by Ocean Hugger Foods, a New York-based food company that discovered a way to simulate tuna fish using tomatoes, which they call Ahimi.
Ocean Hugger Foods’ Ahimi was first discovered by Andy Sasser, Whole Foods’ senior category leader for prepared foods in the company’s Austin, Texas branch.
The Amazon-owned company was actively looking for a plant-based sushi at the 2017 National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago, and Sasser accidentally came across Ocean Hugger during his visit.
“This was luck, honestly. I happened to be attending the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago and I stumbled across the Ocean Hugger team demoing the product,” he told Supermarket News.
Ahimi’s main ingredient is tomato, along with soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and filtered water. These are all mixed in a process that Ocean Hugger keeps as a huge secret.
“We have a propriety process that we developed to eliminated the taste of the ingredient and build the texture of the fattiness of the fish,” said David Benzaquen, the chief executive officer of Ocean Hugger.
Despite the main ingredient, Sasser described Ahimi as mild with only a slight hint of tomato, which will certainly entice vegetarians, vegans as well other consumers.
“It’s quite tasty though and really the look is fantastic,” he said.
Besides tuna, Ocean Hugger is also working on introducing an alternative to eel and salmon products into the market.