A US biotech company, New Wave Foods, announced this week that it plans to release a “popcorn shrimp” product within the next eight months — a shrimp product that is solely man-made, containing no shrimp at all.
For those looking for the plot of the next shrimp-sized version of Jaws, the creation cannot be released into the wild, as it is not a living being.
The company’s founder, Dominque Barnes, a marine conservation expert who studied at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, explains that the faux crustacean is contrived of red algae and protein powder in a process he likens to "baking a loaf of bread."
Notably, unlike other faux shrimp products, the nutritional profile from this New Wave of shrimp will be nearly identical because it is composed of the same algae shrimp regularly eat.
This is a potentially important advance for conservationists, who fear that America’s appetite for seafood may call into question the age-old adage that there are always more fish in the sea. Annually, Americans alone consume some 4 billion pounds of seafood.
Moreover, unlike unwholesome practices exercised by the world’s seafood companies to keep the aisles at Whole Foods and Wal-Mart brimming with fresh shrimp, New Wave’s faux shrimp don’t require modern-day slave labor.