The Importance of Plant Based Food Alternatives

By Grant Ward

The Importance of Plant-Based Food Alternatives

By 2050 the UN reported that we will have little to no fish in our oceans and most of our marine life will perish as well. The reason for this has to do with the threat of overfishing and the alarming rise in ocean temperatures. There are many other factors that are diluting the quality of our oceans but the scariest aspect of this problem is that we have a growing population and a lot less seafood to harvest for food which could have devastating effects. These facts are why the world needs companies like Mind Blown, a seafood company that offers plant based alternatives which bring about meaningful change and help be part of the solution for the betterment of our future.

Mind Blown is an all-female, family-owned company leveraging their more than 20 years of experience creating award-winning seafood products to pivot into creating delicious seafood delicacies made from plants. Shelly Van Cleve, the owner of Mind Blown, talks about what led to her and her daughters going into business together, “Our family absolutely loved seafood! As my children were growing up, the wonderful seafood I had enjoyed as a child and young adult was nowhere to be found in my new community.” This led to Shelly opening her own seafood market to fill the void and she figured if she couldn’t find great seafood then no one else could either.. Her two daughters were in middle school when they first started their business ventures and have continued to run the business as a family.

There are seafood restaurants all over the country but how many of them offer plant based dishes on their menu? Shelly conveys her stance on if every seafood restaurant should offer plant based dishes on their menu, “Yes! We owned a seafood restaurant and we are still in the seafood industry. There are so many reasons why a customer may not consume seafood and by offering plant based seafood they could still partake and enjoy it at the table.” It’s about offering a choice and giving consumers the option to have the best seafood experience possible, even if made from plants. Offering a seafood alternative is vital as the oceans are no longer in abundance of healthy fish and marine life, as well as the growing popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets.

Mind Blown had done something out of the ordinary as they have achieved a lot of success in a relatively short amount of time.Many companies take a span of years to get a portion of the success that Mind Blown has garnered, and Shelly conveys why they’ve been very successful. The first two reasons she alluded to was that they love eating seafood and that they cater to others that love eating seafood. “I know that operating and interfacing with customers day-in and day-out, year after year in our seafood market and restaurant gave us the experience needed, not required, to create seafood products using plants.” The amount of education they received from the seafood industry as well as the consumer industry is the reason they have led the plant based food category. “To some it’s a 9 to 5 job but, to us, it’s our life. Our life is on the water, our life is seafood.”

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After being on the constant grind, Mind Blown won the Best Plant Based Seafood of the Year award at the Mindful Awards in 2022. Mind Blown had already won a plethora of awards but to win this award in particular boosted their confidence, and validated that they were doing the right thing for the world. “ That award was proof positive that we are doing good and are on the right track. It’s hard to do what we do, we must recreate an animal that people love to eat, in its whole form and muscle. The award told us to keep doing what we were doing and not stop”. Mind Blown continues to improve every year, and as you hear from Shelly Cleve, they do not plan on stopping.

Mind Blown is excited and ready to have another great year of success. “Mind Blown goals for 2023 are to bring two more products to market, partner with Airlines, and increase foodservice and retail distribution. Mind Blown is a good example of a company that is passionate about their mission and wants to help change the world for the better. Water pollution, low oxygen levels in the water, higher temperatures, and low amounts of grass are all vital to the wellbeing of marine life. As the oceans continue to get worse, the need for alternative seafood is becoming more of a necessity. We need more people working together to help the issue with our oceans, and all seafood restaurants should start adding plant-based seafood dishes to their menu.