Company Developing Plant-based Seafood for the European Market

Swedish start-up Hooked is developing what it claims to be the world’s first plant-based shredded salmon product. The aim? To meet the rapidly increasing demand for seafood with healthy, tasty, and planet-friendly alternatives.

Hooked was founded by Swedish entrepreneurs Emil Wasteson and Tom Johansson early last year after Johansson’s sister took the plunge into veganism. “There existed very few products and none that tasted good, or had the same nutritional value as traditional seafood,” Johansson recalled.

Upon further research, the duo became increasingly concerned at the state of the seafood industry. It became obvious that the current seafood industry is environmentally unsustainable, and that seafood consists of more toxins than ever before.

With the booming of plant-based foods, we saw a great market potential as well as an opportunity to make a large social impact.

An unsustainable industry?

Originally, Johasnson was most concerned by shrimp farming practices in Asia, where the aim is to produce as much shrimp as possible, in as small an area as possible. These two factors, combined, lead to unsanitary conditions, he continued: “It gets dirty very easily, and then they use antibiotics to make it clean.” Yet given the demand for salmon and tuna in Europe, two of the most consumed seafood products on the continent, the team decided to change focus.

“We found that the problem with shrimp is essentially the same for tuna and salmon. The issue lies in producing as much as possible for as low cost as possible. Demand is growing for seafood, what is [compromised] is the health of the animals and the planet,” said Johanson.

In the tuna industry, overfishing, whereby fish are caught at a faster rate than they can reproduce naturally, is a serious concern. In European seas, 65% of fish populations are overfished. In the Mediterranean Sea, this figure is as high as 96%.

The overfishing of tuna is threatening the species, said Johansson. If tuna become extinct, the whole ecosystem will collapse, he continued, adding that as tuna are higher up the food chain, they are more susceptible to ingesting the toxins and plastic pollution the oceans.

“Changing the way we consume food is needed more than ever for us to live sustainably on the planet, co-founder Wasteson said. “Our seafood consumption has increased rapidly the past 20 years and it is estimated to grow by 30% before 2030.”

At the same time, the seafood industry is fragile, and we have higher levels of antibiotics, mercury and microplastics in our seafood than ever before, Wasteson continued.

“By consuming Hooked’s products, consumers can enjoy seafood without any of these negative consequences. We are meeting the rapidly increased seafood demand with healthy and tasty alternatives with a production that can scale without harming the planet.”

Shredded plant-based salmon and tuna

Hooked’s first two products – shredded plant-based salmon and tuna – are intended for use in pasta dishes, on pizzas, in wraps, salads, and bowls.

Both products are based on soya protein isolate, Hooked’s chief technical officer Peter Liu said, “We want to mimic the real nutritional value of [conventional seafood]. Most of the plant-based meat that you see on the market may have good texture and taste, but the nutrition is not there. So we want to make our product as healthy and as nutritious as possible.”

To bring in flavours of the sea, the products will also contain sea-oriented raw materials, such as seaweed and sea algae. Algal oil will provide omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA and EPA. Texture will be achieved through use of a wet extrusion method.

Both the flavour and texture of the salmon will be very different to that of the tuna. The team plans to use natural flavours, such as carrot, to achieve the correct colouring, as well as smoked ingredients for the taste profile.

While Hooked’s ‘hero product’ will be the salmon, the start-up expects to launch the tuna alternative first, which it is has developed in collaboration with a co-packer in the Netherlands.

Next steps

Hooked is targeting the European market, where it says vegan seafood alternatives products are limited, and either expensive, low in nutrition, or poor in taste. Hooked is tackling all these three key areas with vegan tuna and aims to do the same for the world’s first shredded vegan salmon product that is currently being developed.

In terms of achieving scale, the start-up has confidence in its co-packer and plans to stay with the Dutch operation long-term.

And concerning the start-up’s commercialisation strategy, Hooked is exploring foodservice and ready meal sectors, before entering grocery later on. To enter grocery, we need to expand our portfolio to at least 4-6 SKUs and have a solid business in restaurant. After creating a strong market position in our local Sweden market, we are going to our neighbour countries in the Nordics. Their vision is to become the leading plant-based seafood company in Europe.

Hooked was recently selected to join ProVeg International’s business incubator, which will help the start-up focus on raising investment to support product distribution, marketing and scale.

“It means a lot,” bHooked co-founder Tom Johansson said. Not only the grant of €20,000, but the approval that they believe in the team and the company. They want to see it grow to the next level. We are five weeks into the programme and have received a lot of inspiration, great knowledge, and contacts to go to market.

Source: Food Navigator

Broiled Red Snapper in Cream Sauce

Ingredients

1-1/4 cup fish stock
3/4 cup Chablis or other dry white wine
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 lb red snapper or sole fillets
butter
salt to taste
1 tbsp (heaping) minced parsley

Method

  1. Pour fish stock into a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the Chablis gradually and return to a boil.
  3. Add the cream gradually, stirring constantly, then simmer until sauce is reduced to measure 3/4 cup.
  4. Place the fillets in a well-buttered shallow baking pan. Sprinkle with salt. Brush the fillets with melted butter. Broil for 5 minutes or until browned and tender.
  5. Add the parsley to the sauce and season with salt, if needed. Arrange the fillets in a serving dish and pour the sauce over the top. Serve with potatoes

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Creative Cooking Course

Study: PFAS Exposure May Cause Early Menopause in Women

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) exposure may cause menopause to occur two years earlier in women, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Known as ‘forever chemicals,’ PFAS are manmade and used in a wide variety of nonstick and waterproof products and firefighting foams. PFAS chemicals can contaminate drinking water, and it has been estimated that 110 million Americans (one out of three) may consume drinking water contaminated with these chemicals.

“PFAS are everywhere. Once they enter the body, they don’t break down and build up over time,” said the study’s lead author Ning Ding, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Because of their persistence in humans and potentially detrimental effects on ovarian function, it is important to raise awareness of this issue and reduce exposure to these chemicals.”

The researchers studied 1,120 midlife women from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, a 17-year-long prospective cohort study. They found that women with high PFAS levels in their blood samples reached menopause two years earlier than those with lower levels.

“Even menopause a few years earlier than usual could have a significant impact on cardiovascular and bone health, quality of life, and overall health in general among women,” said corresponding author Sung Kyun Park, Sc.D., M.P.H., of the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Source: Endocrine Society

Could Face Shields Replace Masks in Preventing COVID-19?

Dennis Thopmson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Face masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but some people find them awkward, uncomfortable or downright unbearable to wear.

There’s another good option available for people who just can’t get used to strapping on a face mask while out in public, experts say.

Plastic face shields offer another means of deterring COVID-19 that some might find easier, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in Baltimore.

They’re clear plastic or plexiglass shields that cover the entire face, from the forehead down to the chin or lower. An elastic headband holds the shield in place.

Face shields have been shown to reduce viral exposure by 96% when worn within 18 inches of a cough, and by 92% at the currently recommended 6 feet of social distancing, according to a recent editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Face shields may supplant these masks, eventually,” Adalja said. “I think there’s much more evidence supporting their use.”

While not as popularly promoted as face masks, face shields are available for purchase online. Amazon offers many different brands of face shields, including one developed by its own engineers.

Shields offer a number of benefits over masks, but also a few drawbacks, experts said.

Because they extend down from the forehead, shields protect the eyes as well as the nose and mouth, said Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center. Viruses can enter the body through the eyes.

Adalja noted that face shields also can be more comfortable for people to wear. “It feels less obstructive on their mouth and nose than a mask,” he said.

Esper pointed out that “you don’t get to feel the breeze on your face, but you do get some fresh air, rather than trying to breathe through a cloth mask.”

Person-to-person communication is better with a face shield. People can see your whole face through the shield, making it easier for folks to talk, Adalja said.

“Many people when they’re talking to people will take off their mask or bring it down. People reflexively do that because their voice is muffled by the mask,” Adalja said. “You can see people’s facial expressions much better with a face shield.”

The shields are relatively lightweight and comfortable to wear. They’re also reusable, if a person takes the time to clean them with an antibacterial wipe or soap and water after an outing, Adalja and Esper said.

Esper stressed that regular cleaning will be necessary because one drawback of the shields is that they provide an apt surface upon which the virus can survive.

“We know this virus likes to live on plastic a lot better than it likes to live on porous materials like cloth, paper or cardboard,” he explained.

The type of protection a face shield provides is also very different from that of face masks, the experts said.

Masks protect others around you from germs you are carrying. Face shields do the opposite, protecting you from being infected by the people around you.

“It protects you, the wearer,” Esper said. “But if you cough, because this face shield is away from your face, those droplets can still get out better than if you have a mask on, where they basically get sucked up by the mask itself.”

Doctors working with sick people wear both a face mask and a face shield, and the combination offers the best protection against viral spread, Esper said.

However, Esper and Adalja think average folks should be able to use either device by itself.

“Folks out in the community are having a hard enough time with one or the other, let alone asking them to wear both,” Esper said.

Source: HealthDay

Psychologists Investigate Why Some Older Adults Remember Better than Others

Taylor Kubota wrote . . . . . . . . .

Even among healthy people, a faltering memory is often an expected part of aging – but it’s not inevitable.

Researchers are studying why some healthy, older adults remember better than others. This work establishes a foundation for better understanding age-related memory decline. (Image credit: Getty Images)

“Some individuals exhibit remarkable maintenance of memory function throughout late adulthood, whereas others experience significant memory decline. Studying these differences across individuals is critical for understanding the complexities of brain aging, including how to promote resilience and longevity,” said Alexandra Trelle, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University.

Building on studies that have focused on young populations, Trelle and colleagues are investigating memory recall in healthy, older adults as part of the Stanford Aging and Memory Study. In new research, published May 29 in eLife, this team has found that memory recall processes in the brains of older adults can look very similar to those previously observed in the brains of young adults. However, for those seniors who had more trouble remembering, evidence for these processes was noticeably diminished.

By gaining a better understanding of memory function in older adults, these researchers hope to someday enable earlier and more precise predictions of when memory failures signal increased risk for dementia.

A striking similarity

When Anthony Wagner, the Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences at Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences, was a graduate student at Stanford in the ’90s, he conducted some of the first fMRI studies of memory formation. At that time, state-of-the-art imaging and analysis technologies only allowed measurement of the magnitude of activity from a centimeter-and-a-half section of the brain.

In contrast, the current study measured activity from the whole brain at high-resolution, and analyses not only focused on the magnitude of activity but also on the memory information that is contained in patterns of brain activity.

“It’s exciting to have basic science tools that allow us to witness when a memory is being replayed in an individual mind and to draw on these neural processes to explain why some older adults remember better than others,” said Wagner, who is senior author of the paper. “As a graduate student, I would never have predicted that we would do this kind of science someday.”

In the experiment, 100 participants between the ages of 60 and 82 had their brains scanned as they studied words paired with pictures of famous people and places. Then, during a scanned memory test, they were prompted with words they had seen and asked to recall the associated picture. The memory test was designed to assess one’s ability to remember specific associations between elements of an event, a form of memory that is often disproportionately affected by aging.

In the scans, the researchers observed that the brain processes that support remembering in older adults resemble those in younger populations: when people remember, there is an increase in hippocampal activity – a brain structure long known to be important for remembering events – along with the reinstatement of activity patterns in the cortex that were present when the event was initially experienced. That is, remembering entails neural time travel, replaying patterns that were previously established in the brain.

“It was striking that we were able to replicate this moment-to-moment relationship between hippocampal activity, replay in the cortex, and memory recall, which has previously been observed only in healthy younger adults,” said Trelle, who is lead author of the paper. “In fact, we could predict whether or not an individual would remember at a given moment in time based on the information carried in patterns of brain activity.”

The researchers found that, on average, recall ability declined with age. Critically, however, regardless of one’s age, stronger hippocampal activity and replay in the cortex was linked to better memory performance. This was true not only for the memory test conducted during the scan but also memory tests administered on a different day of the study. This intriguing finding suggests that fMRI measures of brain activity during memory recall are tapping into stable differences across individuals, and may provide a window into brain health.

Only the beginning

This research lays the foundation for many future investigations of memory in older adults in the Stanford Aging and Memory Study cohort. These will include work to further detail the process of memory creation and recall, studies of change in memory performance over time, and research that pairs fMRI studies with other kinds of health data, such as changes in brain structure and the build-up of proteins in the brain that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

The ultimate aim is to develop new and sensitive tools to identify individuals who are at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease before significant memory decline occurs.

“We’re beginning to ask whether individual differences in the ability to mentally travel back in time can be explained by asymptomatic disease that impacts the brain and predicts future clinical diagnosis,” said Wagner. “We’re hopeful that our work, which requires rich collaborations across disciplines, will inform clinical problems and advance human health.”

Source: Stanford University


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