Thai Union Group is considering using alternative insect-based proteins to replace fishmeal, said chief executive, Thiraphong Chansiri, to local news. "I expect to use some of these products soon in our operations," Chansiri said. "We can use alternative proteins to replace fishmeal, but cost is the key and that is something these startups have to take care of."
Thai Union committed $30 million (949 million baht) to a fund to invest in alternative proteins and other foodtech innovations. The company has also invested in an Israel-based startup, Flying Spark, that makes protein products out of fruit fly larvae. The company has 2-3 more startup investments in the pipeline and will focus on Series A and seed funding rounds to make investments under $5 million.
"We are still committed to seafood, but we have to admit that consumer behavior is changing," Chansiri said. "People are interested in alternative proteins, which includes plant-based and insect proteins." Despite the interest in alternatives, the company said that they will still focus on its core business of seafood. "We need to explore new opportunities while remaining focused on our core which is seafood," said Chansiri.