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You Can Now Buy Cans of Vegan “Tuna” at Whole Foods

You Can Now Buy Cans of Vegan “Tuna” at Whole Foods

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Plant-based “toona” from Sophie's Kitchen is flying off store shelves.

It seems shoppers are more inclined to try vegan meat alternatives if they're readily available in supermarkets—at least that's the case forvegan "toona," the latest product from plant-based seafood brand Sophie's Kitchen. The new product is causing a frenzy on social media, and for good reason.

According to a Forbes feature by vegan business expert Katrina Fox, Sophie's Kitchen's tuna alternative experienced a 72 percent increase in sales last year when Whole Foods decided to stock the product next to traditional canned tuna in their stores. The faux tuna comes in two different flavors, Sea Salt and Black Pepper, and just like the rest of Sophie's Kitchen items, is free from soy, gluten, and GMOs. Plus, their products are all designated kosher.

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What exactly is plant-based tuna made from? The main ingredients are konjac—more commonly known as elephant yam, which is popular in Japanese cuisines—and yellow peas. There are three servings of vegan tuna fish per can, and each serving has 100 calories and 330mg of sodium, which is comparable to traditional canned tuna products.

Sophie's Kitchen is one of the many plant-based products becoming popular with home cooks. Thanks to products like vegan smoked salmon, scallops, fish fillets, and crab cakes, Sophie's Kitchen has created numerous seafood substitutes that both vegans and omnivores have noticed in their supermarkets.

More vegan foods that have caught our eye:

The brand's founder, Eugene Wang, says placing vegan products such as Sophie's Kitchen's "toona" among their traditional counterparts is one of the reasons why plant-based foods have become so popular.

“Some stores cross-merchandise the cans in the vegan, plant-based, refrigerated section next to vegan mayonnaise too,” Wang told Forbes. “It gives the consumer the idea that these Toonas can be used just like real tuna.”

Sophie's Kitchen isn't the only brand to catch shoppers’ attention by expanding past the "vegan" aisle—the California-based team behind Beyond Meat was the first brand to sell their plant-based burgers next to real beef at Whole Foods, LiveKindly reports. That move turned out to be just as successful for Beyond Meat as it was for Sophie's Kitchen, and other brands are following in their footsteps.

If you're itching to get your hands on vegan tuna fish in your own kitchen, you can snag both flavors of Sophie's Kitchen's tuna—as well as many other vegan seafood varieties—at online retailer Thrive Market, as well as in select Whole Foods stores nationwide.

Crappy Canned Tuna at Whole Foods

I picked up 3 cans of tuna at Whole Foods in Oakland yesterday in order to make some tuna sandwiches. They were reasonably priced and I didn't see other tuna around - the shelf was pretty bare at 7 p.m. last night. The tuna was 2 cans of Albacore white tuna and 1 can of Tongol tuna (which was cheaper). Unfortunately, I didn't see any in olive oil or any other kind of oil. It really peeves me to pay $5 for a small can of tuna in olive oil at Berkeley Bowl, so I was happy to see these relative bargains at WF.

When I got home and opened the cans, the tuna WAS very light, but it was difficult to remove and some of it stuck to the side of the can like cement! I tasted it and it had almost no taste at all. I had to crumble it with my hands because the fork didn't do the trick.

After I added the mayo, yogurt, onions, celery, pickles, a bit of relish and some capers, I tasted it again and, although it tasted like a good salad dressing, there was no taste of tuna at all. I should mention that the brand was Whole Foods house brand.

I always dislike tuna in water, but sometimes have to buy it due to prohibitive cost of oil-packed tuna. This was a step in the wrong direction that made the water in the can seem blameless. This was awful stuff. At about $2 a can, it was also overpriced.

Has anybody else had problems with Whole Foods white meat tuna in water?

What is TONGOL tuna? It was cheaper.

Also, does anybody have any recs for brands of tuna in oil (or better tuna in water) that doesn't cost so much? My husband and I are suckers for tuna sandwiches when we want a quick supper after being out all day. These sandwiches were pretty bad, but we ate them anyway because they didn't actually taste awful, they tasted of capers, onions, mayo, relish, etc.

Vegan Tuna Launches at 1,100 Walmart Stores Nationwide

Fish-free tuna alternative TUNO&mdashunder Atlantic Natural Foods&rsquo (ANF) Linda Loma line of plant-based products&mdashrecently launched at 1,100 Walmart stores across the United States. The soy-based seafood alternative is available in 5-ounce cans in flavors such as Spring Water with Sea Salt, Lemon Pepper, and Spicy Sriracha, and 3-ounce, single-serving pouches in Lemon Pepper, Thai Sweet Chili, and Sesame Ginger. While TUNO launched last year, the company&rsquos recent deal with Walmart now puts its distribution at 10,000 stores across North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and 17 other countries. ANF also produces ready-to-eat vegan meals such as Thai Green Curry with Chick&rsquon and Rice, Southwest Chunky Stew with Rice, and a Chipotle Bowl with Black Beans. &ldquoAs we continue our journey in food development, we are pleased with the enthusiastic consumer reception of our ready-to-eat meals, and we&rsquore exceptionally bullish on our newest creation, Tuno,&rdquo ANF founder and chairman J. Douglas Hines, said. ANF also recently hired new executives to handle its rapid growth, including the launch of several new plant-based products in 2020.

Love the plant-based lifestyle as much as we do ?
Get the BEST vegan recipes , travel, celebrity interviews , product picks , and so much more inside every issue of VegNews Magazine . Find out why VegNews is the world&rsquos #1 plant-based magazine by subscribing today !

On World Oceans Day, Try These 10 Vegan Seafood Products

Seaspiracy&mdashthe new Netflix documentary everyone is talking about&mdashhas pescatarians and omnivores squirming in their seats. After sitting in stunned silence as the final credits rolled and overactive laptops burned thighs across the country, countless were left thinking, &ldquoI didn&rsquot know.&rdquo The piercing film doesn&rsquot hold back the truth of the seafood industry, and the revelations have sparked new pledges to forgo seafood for good. And we&rsquore here to help. Whether you&rsquore already fish-free or seriously contemplating it, here are ten vegan seafood products to pile in your virtual cart.

Ocean Hugger Foods

1. Ocean Hugger Foods

This sushi-grade plant-based seafood company was hit hard by the pandemic. While its raw tomato-based tuna was met with constant praise, the founders decided to temporarily pause production in June 2020 due to the uncertain times. In March of this year, the company announced that it is planning a triumphant return after partnering with a Thailand-based global manufacturer of sustainable foods. You&rsquoll have to wait until a bit later in the year, but Ocean Hugger products will return to retailers and foodservice businesses in late 2021. Follow them on Instagram (@oceanhuggerfoods) for the latest updates.
Try it here.

Good Catch

2. Good Catch

From the founders of the popular Wicked Healthy blog and ready-made meal brand, Good Catch has wowed the world with its cooked tuna products. The line of packaged vegan tuna and crabless cakes are available at hundreds of locations across the US and Canada including Whole Foods, Wegmans, Gelsons, and Veggie Grill.
Try it here.

New Wave Foods

3. New Wave Foods Shrimp

When replicating animal products, it&rsquos often the texture that stumps many chefs and innovators. Shrimp was particularly difficult to replicate, until New Wave Foods cracked the code with its algae-based vegan shrimp&mdashthe first of its kind. This plant-based shrimp mimics that distinct chew of cooked shrimp perfectly, and the taste is equally on point. The distribution is limited for now, but after closing an $18 million finance round, CEO Mary McGovern promised that 2021 is &ldquothe year of the shrimp.&rdquo New Wave is looking to make a splash on restaurant menus later this year.
Try it here.


4. Gardein

Craving something fried? Gardein is a pioneer in the vegan fish sector after gaining a loyal consumer base by sampling its Crabless Cakes at festivals before the pandemic hit. The Fishless Filets and Mini Crabless Cakes are widely available across the US in most major supermarkets and health food stores. Bring on the chips and vegan tartar sauce!
Try it here.

All Vegetarian

5. All Vegetarian

Not only are these fishy products all vegetarian, but they&rsquore also all vegan, too. This company started out as a wholesale business, selling only to restaurants, but it has since expanded to the retail sector. Look for its perfectly chewy vegan shrimp and shrimp balls at your local vegan grocer or online.
Try it here.


6. BeLeaf

There are a handful of companies making vegan shrimp, but BeLeaf may be the only one mass-producing plant-based ribbon fish (aka salmon steaks). The tender piece of vegan seafood is made with a mix of soybeans, wheat gluten, seaweed, and spices to nail the flaky fish texture and the clean salmon taste. Unlike animal-based salmon, this filet is easy to cook up. Bonus: you don&rsquot have to worry about any bones.
Try it here.



Looking for some major umami to schmear on your bagel? Try JINKA&rsquos vegan tuna fish spread. Not quite cream cheese and not quite tuna salad, this smearable, slightly textured tuna works as a dip, spread, filling, and topper. Flavors come in Original, Lemon and Dill, and Spicy. Find it online or at select Bay Area health food stores.
Try it here.

Sophies Kitchen

8. Sophie&rsquos Kitchen

Yes, the vegan seafood is excellent, but we&rsquore really in love with the tagline: Plant-based seafood that&rsquos tasty AF (as fish). This long-standing vegan company makes an assortment of fishy products including breaded shrimp and fish filets, sliced smoked salmon, crab cakes, and canned Toona. If you&rsquore looking for plant-based seafood, Sophie&rsquos is a stellar one-stop-shop.
Try it here.

Loma Linda

9. Loma Linda Tuno

Whether you&rsquore looking for canned or pouched vegan tuna, the Loma Linda brand has you covered. While we&rsquove already mentioned a few plant-based tunas on this list, the flavors of this brand are absolute standouts. Tasty varieties include Thai Sweet Chili, Sesame Ginger, Sriracha, Lemon Pepper, and pure Spring Water. Hello, vegan sriracha tuna melt!
Try it here.

Plant Based Foods USA

10. Plant Based Foods Cavi-art

Oh, you fancy! Plant Based Foods has created vegan caviar for the refined and sophisticated palates. These salty umami pearls are made from seaweed, water, salt, spice extracts, and a stabilizer to give them that unique fish egg texture&mdashwithout the fish. Like fish eggs, vegan caviar is a rare find in stores, but anyone can purchase a case online at GTFO. You have to try it at least once!
Try it here.

Tanya Flink is a writer and journalist living in Orange County, CA.

Love the plant-based lifestyle as much as we do ?
Get the BEST vegan recipes , travel, celebrity interviews , product picks , and so much more inside every issue of VegNews Magazine . Find out why VegNews is the world&rsquos #1 plant-based magazine by subscribing today !


Black Pepper Vegan Toona Ingredients: Textured Vegetable Protein (pea protein, isolated soy protein, soy flour, water), olive oil, black pepper, potato starch, sea salt, seaweed powder, organic agave nectar, organic apple cider vinegar, paprika, konjac powder, ginger.

Sea Salt Vegan Toona Ingredients: Pea protein, pea starch, water, olive oil, potato starch, sea salt, seaweed powder, organic agave nectar, organic apple cider vinegar, paprika, konjac powder, ginger.

One thing you’ll notice here is that the Sea Salt and Black Pepper have a slight difference in their ingredients – Sea Salt version does not have soy.

Have you tried Vegan Toona? What did you think? (and what did you make with it?)

Updated to Add, you can now buy this product in Canada, but it’s a bit more expensive.

Spicy &ldquoTuna&rdquo Maki

Did you know you can make vegan &ldquotuna&rdquo from tomatoes? As crazy as it sounds, it&rsquos actually incredibly delicious. Slightly cooked tomato flesh soaked in a flavorful fishy marinade works miracles, especially in combination with the other flavors of sushi. You really can veganize anything! Note: For nori flakes, you can simply grate, chop or crumble a nori sheet.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons vegan cream cheese

What about mercury levels?

It's important to note that nearly all fish contain some amount of mercury, and tuna actually has less than other varieties like swordfish or mackerel. However, you may want to enjoy tuna in moderation, especially if you&rsquore pregnant, breastfeeding or feeding young children. The FDA suggests limiting the consumption of white/albacore or yellowfin tuna to one serving per week, and skipjack tuna to two to three servings per week.

In support of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the FDA recommends that adults consume at least 8 ounces of seafood per week (less for young children) and that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding consume 8-12 ounces of seafood per week, opting for choices that are lower in mercury.

Ultimately, the type of canned tuna you choose to eat will depend on your flavor preferences and dietary needs. The most common types of canned tuna at the store are &ldquowhite&rdquo or &ldquolight&rdquo tuna. "White" tuna is albacore. "Light" can be skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye, or a combination. White tuna has a milder flavor than &ldquofishier&rdquo light tuna and is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, but it can also be higher in mercury. Experiment with the type of tuna you prefer, and incorporate your top picks in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

What Does Plant-Based Vegan Mean?

Unlike a vegetarian diet which may include dairy and/or eggs, a “vegan” diet excludes allanimal and animal-derived products. There’s no fish, dairy, meat, eggs, fish, honey or poultry included – ever. That’s right, no butter, no ice cream, hamburgers, steak, chicken nuggets, tuna salad, omelets or hash browns fried in lard. Sounds simple enough, right?

But the problem is that a vegan diet can still include all kinds of foods that are not animal-derived but are still unhealthy. These foods might be low in nutrients and fiber (so-called empty calories), high in fat, salt, and added sugars, and may be highly processed. These foods may contain artificial preservatives, additives, fillers, colors or flavors.

Many commercially-produced snack foods and candies, as well as bread, crackers, and pasta made from refined white flour (as opposed to natural whole grain products which contain the original fiber, vitamins, and minerals), are unhealthy carbs consisting of simple sugars or which are quickly converted into simple sugars by the body.

Examples of some less-than-healthy vegan foods:

  • Potato chips
  • White flour pasta
  • White bread
  • Cotton candy
  • Frozen meals
  • French fries
  • Fast food
  • Highly-processed pre-packaged and frozen foods
  • Cookies
  • Nondairy ice cream
  • Nondairy creamer

15 Foods You Didn’t Know Come in Cans

Canned food is a surprisingly big topic of conversation right now. As we socially distance and shelter in place to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all stocking up on shelf-stable foods, canned goods among them. Bean sales are through the roof, and canned tuna is having a moment.

But there are only so many times you can crack open a can of chickpeas or tomatoes before you start to get sick of ’em. If that’s you right now, then I heartily recommend exploring the wild world of food that comes in cans, beyond the standard fare.

Here is a sampling of the remarkably wide array of tasty, nutritious, surprisingly practical—and dare we say, exciting—products you can add to your canned-food rotation.

Editor’s Note: The products listed here were available at the links below as of publication. If something is sold out, look for an estimated restock date at the top of the Amazon product page. You can also check the seller’s store for similar products or google to find something similar.

One more thing: Buy only what you need. Per public health officials and retailers, panic-buying in large quantities is unnecessary and can contribute to shortages.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

My Regular Vegan Whole Foods Shopping List

Based on my favorite products that I shared above, this is normally what I buy when I shop at Whole Foods. If any items are not listed it's because I don't buy them every trip, I only buy them when I need them or for a special occasion.

  • (2) organic head of lettuce (whatever greens are on sale)
  • Assorted produce (varies depending on sales)
  • (1) organic baby arugula bag
  • (2) sprouted frozen bagel bags (keep one in the freezer!)
  • (2) Violife vegan cheese packs (depending on what I'm making that week)
  • (1) Ripple unsweetened coffee creamer (one bottle usually lasts for the month)
  • (1) Field Roast sausages (we eat these once a month for a quick dinner)
  • (1) unsweetened soy milk carton
  • (1) unsweetened coconut milk carton
  • (1) artichoke hearts jar
  • (1) jalapeno slices jar

I hope this list is helpful to you and inspires you to try some new vegan products! If I missed any of your favorite vegan products at Whole Foods, please leave your answer in a comment below!


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