According to a press release, the grocery store giant celebrated its sixth annual Supplier Awards last night in Austin, Texas. The company hosts this annual gala to honor companies that exemplify the Whole Food’s commitment to “quality, environmental stewardship, ethical sourcing, and culinary innovation,”
“Our shoppers look to Whole Foods Market for new and delicious products, and we are honored to recognize our top supplier partners who demonstrate industry-leading innovation and impactful work,” said A.C. Gallo, president and chief operating officer at Whole Foods Market. “These national and local suppliers were selected from thousands of driven, passionate, mission-based brands at Whole Foods Market and represent the best in class in sourcing, and commitment to the highest quality standards.”
Ocean Hugger Foods was one of two brands to earn an accolade for “Outstanding Innovation” for bringing its Ahimi Tuna, the “first-to-market sashimi-grade vegan tuna,” to select Whole Foods Market in Los Angeles and New York City. “Ocean Hugger Foods’ innovative product spurred Whole Foods Market culinary experts to include ‘High Tech, Plant Forward’ foods as a trend for 2018,” said the company.
Ocean Hugger Foods was born of the founders’ mission to “create delicious, sustainable plant-based alternatives to popular seafood proteins, that delight even the most discerning of palates.”
In late 2017, the company debuted its vegan Ahimi Tuna at select Whole Foods Markets in LA and NYC. Using a blend of water, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil, the company’s chef was able to create a sustainable vegan fish with a savory, meaty taste that has been described as being indistinguishable from the fish-based sushi-grade tuna. Not only did the release spark rave reviews from customers (NPR regaled it as a “dead ringer for Ahi tuna sashimi”), it caught the attention of other businesses as well.
Early this year, Ocean Hugger Foods announced its official partnership with Aramark, an American foodservice behemoth. Soon, select corporate and university campus dining halls managed by Aramark will add Ahimi Tuna to the menu.
Image Credit: Ocean Hugger Foods.