Do you remember when Tofurkey was the craziest meat substitute on the market? Prepare for life on a plant basis because the latest vegan protein is not designed to resemble poultry, pork, or beef. It's Tuno, an "alternative to seafood."
I had a question to Doug Hines, former investor of Bumble Bee Tuna, who founded Tuno: Why?
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"There is a long way to go for alternative sources of protein," says Hines. "And overfishing is a growing, global problem." So many companies are investing more and more money in building a better meat-free burger, but for Hines, a tuna man from the past, the solution seems obvious: Build a better fish from a can, even if it's actually no fish.
"Tuna is the market leader for long-lasting canned products," says Hines. And there was room for improvement; Apart from the sustainability issues, tuna can be high in mercury and other oceanic pollutants such as microplastics are becoming more of a concern.
Atlantic Natural Foods, the company that makes Tuno, combines soy, yeast and sunflower oil. Currently, one serving has about 80 percent of tuna omega-3s and virtually as much protein (1
But Why ?
Hines admits that Tuno's nutritional profile would appeal to the wellness crowd: "It's not really meant for vegetarians." Like meatless burgers, Tuno tries to attract a crowd that's already familiar with an animal's protein source, but wants an allegedly healthier, more sustainable, or more cost-effective option. In these things, taste will be the deciding factor. There are three types of tuno: the original, spring water, lemon pepper and Spicy Tuno with Sriracha. I've tried them all, as well as Paul Kita, the publisher of Health Food & Nutrition for Men.
The Vegan Tuna Taste Test
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Each 5 ounce tin has an easy-to-open pop-top. The company debuts with bags ("for millenials," Hines said), and I would definitely recommend going this route to avoid a direct comparison with pet food. What is honestly what Tuno looks like. The chunks are a bit smaller than real tuna, and the sauces do not really help.
Overall, the consistency of Tuno is rather tough than flaky, and like most soy-based products, the flavor comes mainly from the sauces