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A plant-based version of canned tuna made by vegan food company Good Catch became available at Whole Foods and Thrive Market grocery stores in the US this quarter. The vegan ‘tuna’ was created in response to the issues of overfishing (around 90% of the fish supply has been overexploited or entirely depleted), bad conditions in fisheries and contaminants often found in real tuna, including mercury and plastics. Good Catch’s tuna is made from legumes, seaweed, and soy, and has approximately the same nutritional content as real tuna. The company say they will soon launch plant-based burgers and crab cakes.

It’s not so long ago that plant-based, ‘fake’ seafood was seen as more of a lab experiment than a consumer reality. So what’s going on?

New information is breaking old patterns. In the US, canned tuna has been a staple since the late 1800s. But now, rising numbers of consumers can no longer ignore the negative impacts that traditional consumption of meat and fish is having on the planet, and even on their own health. Sales for plant-based alternatives to animal products are expected to exceed USD 5 billion by 2020. Rising concern over negative impacts – on the planet, society and health – will be one of the most powerful forces reshaping traditional consumption patterns for decades to come. What currently experimental or fringe offerings in your industry will benefit?

One-upping nature. For decades, consumerism has used the word ‘natural’ as a synonym for healthy, wholesome, high-quality and in harmony with the planet. And those ideas will continue to resonate with many consumers. But now it’s becoming clear to rising numbers that sometimes fake is better than ‘natural’ on all those fronts. Good Catch tuna reports that in testing, consumers actually preferred the taste of fake tuna to the real fish (and sure, they wouldn’t tell us if it had been the other way around). Meanwhile, watchmaker Omega engineered a synthetic ‘silk’ for its watch straps that’s more durable than actual silk. How do ideas about ‘natural’ play out when it comes to your offering, brand or industry? And how could that be set to change?

The Future of Experiences

The latest TrendWatching Quarterly is now live! 🚀

In this edition we tackle The Future of Experiences, diving into three trends that show what status-hungry consumers demand of in-person experiences in 2019.