A New Wave of Alternative Protein Products with New Wave Foods’ Michelle Wolf

June 2023

Michelle Wolf, cofounder and chief executive of New Wave Foods, describes how industry culture, innovative solutions and a thriving market paved the way for New Wave Foods to make an impact from coast to coast.

Alternative protein continues to evolve as  manufacturers, chefs and college students break into untapped ingredients that can replicate the taste and texture of the real deal. For Michelle Wolf, cofounder and chief executive, New Wave Foods is a way to make a definitive impact in the food supply chain by distributing her shrimp to restaurants across the U.S. While also reducing the carbon footprint of shrimping, New Wave Foods’ shrimp products serve as mimics that are safe for seafood allergies and safe for our oceans.

Wolf states that using ingredients like seaweed and mung bean allows for an alternative protein product that positively impacts that environment, while also catching the attention of Forbes, Tyson Ventures, and consumers with food allergies that wish for a fine-dining seafood experience. 

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Easily Overlooked?

June 5, 2023

As a business journalist, writing about what’s going on at the retail level is a no-brainer. Precise and reliable sales data, at a granular level, is widely available, primarily through Circana. And within certain parameters, it’s available to the press at no charge.

So I have fallen into the trap of overlooking a channel of vital importance to the alternative meat industry.

The food service sector is far more difficult to find hard data on, in no small part because of its diversity and lack of standardization. What’s happening at Applebee’s has nothing to do with what’s on the plate at Momofuku, which is only distantly related to what’s on the menu at the medical center. University dining halls are another eco-system entirely.

I got a swift kick in the pants, though, walking the floor at the National Restaurant Show, staged last month in Chicago. The 2023 expo featured 68 alternative protein companies, of which 26 (by my count) were alt-meat-related. I don’t have a list of the 2022 exhibitors, but based on the number of alt-meat company reps I spoke with who said they were exhibiting for the first time, the increase in participation is substantial.

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The New Wave of Plant-based Foods

May 30, 2023

A key takeaway from the 2023 National Restaurant Association Show is this: a new wave of plant-based foods has made landfall.

In fact, given how many booths had plant-based items on offer, more waves will be crashing ashore. Plant-based items had a presence inside every building at McCormick Place in Chicago. For those who haven’t attended to show, McCormick Place has well more than two-million square feet in exhibit space.

There were, of course, the plant-based standards to which we’ve all grown accustomed. Burger patties, breakfast sausages, “chicken” nuggets, “pepperoni” pizzas… However, we now know there’s more innovation on the way.

Years ago, F&B experts declared seafood alternatives as the “holy grail” of plant-based foods. The race has been on to “crack the code” and offer seafood alternatives that look, cook, and taste like their animal counterparts.

One brand that appears to have reached their goal? New Wave Foods. And their staunchest culinary supporter? The revered and iconic Chef Brian Duffy.

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Why Food-Service is a Common Sense Go-To-Market Approach

April/May 2023

A Forbes 30 Under 30’ alumni, Michelle Wolf co-founded New Wave Foods with the goal of
building a portfolio of great tasting, plant-based seafoods, starting with shrimp. But why shrimp? “It’s one of the most consumed seafoods in the world and a bit of a poster child for the issues we face in the seafood supply chain,” Wolf says. “The main problem lies in volume – after beef and chicken production, shrimp is the third-largest emitter of GHGs.”

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Hot trends at Bar & Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas

March 29, 2023

The Bar & Restaurant Expo 2023 completes a three-day run Wednesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center, showcasing what’s hot and ahead in hospitality sips and eats. Here are five products and trends that stood out from among nearly 500 exhibitors and thousands of attendees.

Plant-Based Seafood: We’ve got turf (aka plant-based burgers). Now, there’s surf, a growing category of plant-based foods. Cajun breaded shrimp from New Wave Foods, successfully delivered the flavor and texture of ocean shrimp. Fittingly, this product is made from seaweed, and from mung bean protein. Cue a basket of fried New Wave with cocktail sauce.

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FABI 2023 Award presented by the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel Motel Show

March 22, 2023

The National Restaurant Association Show FABI Awards program celebrates the most forward-thinking and creative new tastes that are driving trends, delighting customers and delivering expanded menu offerings across the industry.

FABI 2023 Award Winner: Cajun breaded New Wave Shrimp® is a plant-based shrimp made from seaweed and plant protein with the same delicious bite, texture and taste of ocean shrimp. It’s versatile, with simple freezer-to-oven or freezer-to-fryer preparation. Additionally, it’s natural, halal, vegan, contains zero cholesterol and is free from shellfish, allergens and soy. 70% of the earth’s surface. “But seafood consumption has a devastating impact on our oceans.”

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The Social Network

March 13, 2023

When Michelle Wolf looks out across the water from her San Francisco home office, she sees something a bit different from the rest of us.

“When you look out into the ocean, it feels vast. There’s so much space out there, it can feel like an endless resource that can’t be depleted,” she says, holding her arms wide to illustrate the expansiveness of the ocean, which covers about 70% of the earth’s surface. “But seafood consumption has a devastating impact on our oceans.”

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10 Startups Conserving Marine Life in 2023

December 18, 2022

Our oceans are vital to our survival, especially the survival of the vibrant wildlife and coral reefs that live in the many bodies of water around the world. Startups everywhere are working to boost marine conservation and protect all the animals that call the seas home. We’ve compiled a great list of companies working to restore the oceans.

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13 Ingredients to Elevate Your Restaurant Menu in 2023

December, 2022

New Wave Breaded Shrimp

To meet consumer demand for plant-based proteins, New Wave Foods introduced its breaded shrimp offering, with a texture and flavor that matches its ocean counterpart.  The allergen-free product goes right from freezer to fryer and can serve as a substitute for any warm shrimp dish, from kebabs and scampis to po’boys and wraps.

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New Wave Foods Announces Partnership with Restaurateur, Influencer and Television Personality Chef Brian Duffy

November 16, 2022

NYACK, N.Y. — New Wave Foods, an innovator in sustainable plant-based seafood, has partnered with Chef Brian Duffy, known to many for his appearances on Bar Rescue, The Today Show, Food Network, HGTV and more, to spread the word on New Wave Foods’ plant-based shrimp to foodservice operators.

As a partner of the brand, Duffy will create recipes and social media content, make appearances on behalf of New Wave Foods, including the National Restaurant Association Show in 2023, and join the brand’s upcoming #GiveAShrimp campaign and tour to raise awareness of consumers’ rising interest in sustainable plant-based seafood.

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High Tech Foods You Can Eat Right Now

November 8, 2022

Eating is one of the most natural things we do. Yet, it’s also one of the most unnatural. Ever since the advent of agriculture and domestication, humans have ceased to eat the way we used to, or the way other animals do. Most of us don’t spend our days hunting and gathering to fill our larders. Through selective breeding over thousands of years, genetic engineering in a lab, and processing in a factory, almost everything we eat has been changed or wholly created by technology.

SEAFOOD FROM ALGAE: Demand for plant-based proteins is climbing every day, and as the consumer base for vegetarian and vegan meat alternatives grows, many are looking for new ways to eat their old favorites. To date, most of the effort toward engineering fake meats has gone to the classic standbys like burgers and chicken nuggets. In recent years, however, the industry has continued to innovate, crafting meatballs, sausages, and fish patties all made from plant-based ingredients. Even with all of the great options available at grocery stores and restaurants today, plant-based customers remain limited in what they can buy and enjoy. If you found yourself craving some shrimp scampi you were, sadly, out of luck. Until now.

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Sea Veggie Burgers, Spiced Cajun Shrimp, and More Vegan Food News of the Week

October 28, 2022

From Atlantic Sea Farms’ plant-based burgers made from sea veggies to New Wave Foods’ Cajun-spiced fish-free shrimp, we’re serving up the nest in vegan food news of the week.

It seems that every week in the world of vegan food news is more exciting than the last and this week is no exception. Vegan seafood news is swimming in from women-run companies Atlantic Sea Farms (which just released burgers made with kelp and green chickpeas) and New Wave Foods (which is launching Cajun Breaded vegan shrimp into the foodservice sector). Vegan chicken is having a moment, too, with a new product line from Dr. Praeger’s and new menu options at coffee chain Bluestone Lane courtesy of Daring Foods.

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Our Favorite Vegans Eats From the 2022 Plant-Based Food Expo

September 8, 2022

On Thursday, Sept. 8, Green Matters took to the 2022 North American Plant-Based World Expo, which took place at New York City’s iconic Javits Center. Prepared to try all of the latest and newest innovations in vegan food, I came incredibly hungry, and left — er, rolled out — on the brink of a food coma.

There were so many awesome things to try at the expo, including everything from plant-based shrimp to vegan charcuterie.

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How operators can deliver on diners’ demands for sustainability

August 22, 2022

Nowadays, customers care about the state of the environment even more than they have in the past. According to First Insight’s recent report, three-quarters of Gen Z consumers said that sustainability was more important to them than the brand name when making purchase decisions.

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Diner Demands for Sustainable Offerings: What operators need to know

August 10, 2022

In the realm of consumer concerns about foods, sustainability is no new issue. Diners are, however, increasingly interested in this topic, and restaurnts need to adapt their menus to emerrging consumer preferences. 

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Restaurant Show Puts Plant-Based in Spotlight

June 6, 2022

CHICAGO – Plant-based protein options were plentiful at the recent National Restaurant Association show, with old timers Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Kellogg’s Morningstar Farms joined by newer companies – such as Daring, Next Gen Foods (TiNDLE), Simulate (NUGGS), The Jackfruit Company (jack & annie’s), Future Farm, Motif FoodWorks, Future Foods Enterprises (PAOW!), VFC Foods, and Fable.

More plant-based seafood alternatives were available at this year’s show than in previous years to address consumer concerns about overfishing. Some “90% of consumers are concerned about seafood sustainability” according to Datassential’s 2022 Environment Report cited by New Wave Foods.

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Sea Solutions: Plant-based seafood represents menu opportunities

July 28, 2022

In operation since 1948, Cooper’s Seafood House in Scranton, Pa., prides itself on being a popular destination for locals and travelers alike. The seafood hotspot has expanded on its original 19th century railroad station building, and boasts a dining experience that emphasizes its unique décor, quality service and an extensive menu of flavorful seafood classics, from Alaskan King Crab Legs to New Orleans-Style Catfish.

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Sea Solutions: Plant-based shrimp provides an alternative for forward-looking restaurants

May 27, 2022

Blue Sushi Sake Grill, a sushi concept with locations in 10 states, prides itself on an Earth-conscious commitment to sustainable seafood, sourcing from vendors that supply responsibly caught and humanely raised products. In keeping with that brand imperative, the restaurant incorporates New Wave Shrimp®, the premium plant-based seafood alternative, to deliver modern menu solutions. New Wave Shrimp is the hero ingredient for two new vegan sushi rolls added to menus at all Blue’s locations: Vegan Hot Night and Vegan Black Dragon.

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New Wave Foods Names New Leadership - Michelle Wolf to take on role as CEO

July 14, 2022

New Wave Foods, a leader of sustainable, plant-based shrimp, recently appointed co-founder Michelle Wolf as the company’s full-time CEO. Wolf’s passion for food sustainability was her key motivator in co-founding the brand. Today she continues to drive the company’s mission to produce products that will reduce the impact on our overtaxed oceans.

In the short time she’s been in her new role, Wolf has had a string of successes, including the launch of a smaller sized unbreaded plant-based shrimp for broader menu application, a pre-breaded plant-based shrimp as a labor-saving solution, plus enhancements to the core New Wave Shrimp® product including a reformulation to use exclusively Natural and Halal ingredients. With a focus on continuous innovation, Wolf is championing product and production improvements that will allow New Wave Foods to match the needs of chefs, the preferences of consumers. All to better supply the growing demand for sustainable seafood alternatives.

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Leverage Sustainable Shrimp Offerings to Meet Consumer Demand

July 13, 2022

Sustainability concerns have created a sea change in how – and how often – consumers enjoy shrimp when they dine away from home. Shrimp remain the most popular seafood item across America, but consumer awareness and concerns about the environment and the ocean can make customers pause before they order. Fortunately, plant-based shrimp, with the taste, texture, and bite of ocean shrimp, enables foodservice operators to offer a sustainable, shellfish allergen and cholesterol-free alternative.

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10 Standout F&B Products from the National Restaurant Show

May 2022

Brand: New Wave

Product: Plant-Based Shrimp

This San Francisco-based startup brought one of the more interesting items to the showroom floor with its plant-based shirmp product. Started by Michelle Wolf, an engineer with CPG experience, New Wave is looking to change the way people think abuot proteins. The plant-based shrimp is made of seaweed and other plant-based ingredients, like mung bean, while maintining the taste and texture of ocean-caught shrimp. With no shellfish or soy allergens, this product can be consumed by just about anyone, incnluding those on a gluten-free diet.

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Here are Some of our Plant-Based Favorites at the National Restaurant Association Show

May 22, 2022

If you were to land on the floor of the sprawling National Restaurant Association Show from a distant galaxy, you might think the inhabitants of this planet do not consume animal protein.

In every corner of the Show, which runs through Tuesday at McCormick Place in Chicago, there are plant-based versions of burgers, ice cream, shredded beef, sausage, shrimp, tuna poke and even a perfectly runny egg.

John Li, VP of culinary innovation at Wendy’s, said during a session at the Show that he’s been amazed by the growth of plant-based foods over the past decade, and that he can’t imagine what the next decade will bring.

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52 generally excellent world-changing ideas tackling everything from deforestation to the food system

May 3, 2022

The general excellence category of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards honors the broadest ideas, whether they’re new government policies, new business models, or entirely new consumer categories. Anything that has the potential to effect true systems change or solve wicked problems. See the finalists and honorable mentions below, and read about the winner, an animal-free whey that makes everything from ice cream to protein powder taste like real dairy, no cows needed.

FINALIST: New Wave Shrimp, New Wave Foods

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34 companies changing the world through food

May 3, 2022

The food category of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards recognizes products or services that change what we eat, how we eat, or how we get our food. See the finalists and honorable mentions below, and read about the winner . . .

HONORABLE MENTIONS: New Wave Shrimp, New Wave Foods

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New Wave Foods Launches Its Plant-Based Shrimp to Foodservice Companies throughout the U.S.

March 30, 2021

New Wave Foods announced today that it has signed a strategic distribution agreement to officially launch its New Wave Shrimp® to North American restaurants and foodservice companies. Under a non-exclusive agreement with Dot Foods, the largest foodservice industry redistributor in North America, New Wave Foods is accelerating its go-to-market efforts by providing foodservice companies with immediate and convenient access to its plant-based shrimp.

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#TradeTalks​: Move over meat! 2021 is the year of the shrimp in the plant-based food market

FEB 9, 2021

Move over meat! 2021 is the year of the shrimp in the plant-based food market. New Wave Foods CEO Mary McGovern joins Jill Malandrino on Nasdaq #TradeTalks to discuss. #sustainability

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80+ Female FoodTech Founders, Leaders And Investors You Need To Know

By Nicola Spalding  / March 8, 2021

8th March every year is International Women’s Day, and FoodHack is here to celebrate the top women changing the future of food.

We asked our network to nominate founders, leaders and innovators in the food tech space, and wow did you guys/girls come through! We were overwhelmed by the responses, introducing us to incredible women all over the world working on everything from cell-based meats, to microalgae infused drinks, upcycled meals, functional foods, and lots more.

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Shrimp alternative company ‘snaps’ into foodservice

By Jeff Gelski  /  January 7, 2021

NEW YORK—New Wave Foods needed the right “snap” for its plant-based shrimp alternative. “The texture of shrimp is pretty particular,” said Michelle Wolf, co-founder and chief technology officer of the New York-based company. “There’s that snap and that succulent bite that the product has.”

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New Wave Foods launches plant-based shrimp with Tyson backing

January 6, 2021

Yahoo Finances Alexis Chistoforous and Mary McGovern, New Wave Foods CEO, discuss growth as the company completes its $18M series A fundraising.

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Startup Secures $18 Million In Funding In A Bet That Seafood Alternatives Catch On

By Margherita Beale / January 6, 2021

Shrimp is the top seafood eaten in America, and a women-led startup is now bringing a plant-based alternative made from mung bean and a seaweed derived ingredient to market, thanks to fresh funding. 

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New Wave Foods Completes $18 Million Series A Financing

January 6, 2021

New Wave Foods is disrupting the $9 billion dollar shrimp market with the introduction of a plant-based shrimp made of sustainable seaweed and plant proteins. The Company will initially focus on selling its product to restaurants and foodservice locations.

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New Wave Foods co-founder Michelle Wolf named 30 Under 30 - Food & Drink by Forbes

December 2020

With an engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Wolf cofounded New Wave Foods in 2015 to promote healthy and sustainable eating. The company produces a plant-based shrimp alternative made from seaweed, and is in the final stages of a $15 million Series A funding round. Tyson Ventures announced an investment in the company in September 2019. New Wave’s shrimp will launch in restaurants and foodservice locations in 2021.

Tyson embraces alt-shrimp made from plants — and it could be jumbo

By Aruka Sanchir / September 5, 2019

On Thursday the world’s second-largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork announced it has invested in New Wave Foods, a San Francisco-based start-up that will debut plant-based shrimp early next year.

Company plans to release plant-based shrimp product

September 5, 2019

The new trend of plant-based food products has a new addition: shrimp.

Tyson Embraces Faux Fish by Backing Maker of Plant-Based Shrimp

September 5, 2019

Meat giant Tyson Foods Inc. venture arm bought a minority stake in New Wave Foods, a maker of plant-based shrimp.

Tyson invests in plant-based shrimp company New Wave Shrimp

September 5, 2019

Tyson is getting in on the ground floor of the next food alternative: plant based shrimp.