Meet the Smart Protein partners: Thai Union


The world’s leading seafood producer is dedicated to deliver sustainable plant-based seafood products with great taste

As the world’s leading seafood producer, Thai Union is well aware of its responsibility to provide healthy, nutritious products to consumers around the world, while also being mindful of the need to ensure that these products are sustainable so that generations to come can continue to enjoy them. Thai Union’s Global Innovation Center (GIC) is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of food and is fully committed to Thai Union’s promise to promote Healthy Living, Healthy Oceans across the world, while meeting ever-evolving consumer demands.

Taking Thai Union ‘beyond seafood’

The GIC is Thai Union’s hub for research and development of emerging technologies and product concepts for Thai Union’s brands around the world. It combines modern nutritional science and processing technology to develop product platforms that address the needs of consumers and the global food industry. This work includes taking Thai Union ‘beyond seafood’ and increasingly looking at, and developing, smart, plant-based proteins, meeting a growing demand for alternative protein products with excellent taste and quality.

Thai Union’s engagement with the Smart Protein project provides exciting opportunities to work in the forefront of alternative seafood product development together with leading academic universities, organizations, and industrial partners. Through this work, Thai Union and the GIC are constantly seeking to develop production processes and product formats to provide benefits and value to customers, consumers and stakeholders.

“The world is ever changing and we must always be mindful of not only the needs of our customers, but of the great responsibility to protect the oceans and our precious resources,” says, Dr. Tunyawat Kasemsuwan, Thai Union’s Global Innovation Director and Head of the Global Innovation Center. “Sustaining ocean life while also being able to deliver nutrition to consumers around the world is a key focus for the GIC and Thai Union, and it’s important that we are able to maintain a leading position in this area.”

Creating new, cost-effective and scalable food solutions

Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic also drive awareness of the importance of maintaining supply chains, and that the need to develop new, cost-effective and scalable food solutions is greater than ever.

“The pandemic has had widespread impact on the way we eat, with an increasing awareness from consumers on the importance of healthy diets. At the same time, eating less meat and using alternative proteins can have a very positive effect on the planet, including combating climate change, and it is important that we develop products that enable consumers to follow their ethics when choosing their diets,” Dr. Tunyawat said.

Beyond the Smart Protein project, Thai Union has partnered with companies such as Calysta to develop alternative protein feeds for shrimp, and launched the food-tech incubator, Space-F, in partnership with Thailand’s National Innovation Agency and Mahidol University. Several start-ups focused on alternative protein solutions participate in the Space-F program that are helping established industry partners to develop and evolve their offering, and to meet the changing needs of the industry.

The GIC will continue to work with key partners such as within the Smart Protein project to develop and commercialise exciting new proteins and products to push forward the boundaries of food innovation.

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