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Thai Union's Marine Protein business unit launches John West Vegan Fish-Free Tuna in the Netherlands

February 28, 2023

John West, the Netherlands’ leading canned fish brand, has announced the launch of two new vegan ‘tuna’ products: Vegan Fish-Free Tuna with Tomato and Basil and Vegan Fish-Free Tuna with a Dash of Oil.

John West is now offering Dutch consumers Vegan Fish-Free Tuna made from soy protein and wheat in 1,400 stores. Available in pouches containing either tomato and basil or brine and oil, the Vegan Fish-Free Tuna range responds to rising consumer demand for varied, flexitarian diets.

“The introduction of fish-free options alongside our traditional tuna products gives consumers more choice, and provides an alternative, relevant source of protein," said Arno Snoey, Country Manager for John West Holland. "There is a huge opportunity to connect with consumers of all ages who pursue a flexitarian lifestyle.”

The launch of John West Vegan Fish-Free Tuna is Thai Union’s response to the increased demand for alternative protein products, and specifically plant-based alternatives in The Netherlands. Consumers are driven by concerns about their nutrition, and those seeking a more varied diet are eating more plant-based meals. ‘Flexitarianism’ is on the rise, with consumers demanding tasty vegan alternatives that enable them to benefit from all protein sources and pursue a meat-free or reduced meat lifestyle.

According to Innova Market Insights, 42% of the Dutch population follow a flexitarian diet – the highest rate of all countries in the European Union. In addition, recent research from John West found that Dutch consumers are keener to try alternative seafood compared to other nationalities and are more likely to want a product comparable to fish in terms of appearance, taste and texture.

The introduction of John West Vegan Fish-Free Tuna reinforces Thai Union’s commitment to unlocking the alternative seafood opportunity, building a portfolio of alternative protein products, and supporting the Group’s commitment to ‘Healthy Living, Healthy Oceans’.

It builds on Thai Union’s own alternative seafood offerings. In 2021, the Group launched OMG Meat, a plant-based seafood range aimed at consumers in Thailand. Developed by the Global Innovation Center, the range includes plant-based dim sum, crab dumplings, crab cake, fish nuggets and, most recently, shrimp dumplings.

In addition, at the beginning of 2023, Thai Union launched its new Marine Proteins business unit in Europe, capitalizing on the marine protein opportunities through leveraging its global R&D and commercial resources. John West Vegan Fish-Free Tuna is the first branded product from Marine Proteins. The business unit plans to introduce more alternative protein products later this year.

"John West Vegan Fish-Free Tuna is Thai Union’s first branded alternative protein product launch worldwide and therefore a major milestone for us," concluded Jon Burton, Business Unit Director, European Marine Protein. "We will enter other European markets later this year with more innovative alternative protein products to bring game-changing innovation to the ambient category.”

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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