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Author Sarah Kirton
Sarah Kirton
Updated on Jun 5th, 2023
Fact checked by Emma Vince

The ISH Company 2023: Disruptive Plant-Based Foods

Mr. Bernard David is the visionary founder of The ISH™ Food Company, a plant-based food business that is revolutionizing the food industry with its regenerative approach. Mr. David believes that by taking a Whole System Approach to food production, we can create a sustainable food system that benefits everyone involved, from the farmers and producers to the consumers and the planet. At ISH™ Food Company, the mission is to replace more natural and social capital than they take, with the ultimate goal of creating a system that restores balance to the earth. With a commitment to regenerative practices and the use of plant-based ingredients, Mr. David and his team are on a mission to change the world one plant-based bite at a time. DeliveryRank finds out more.

What inspired you to start The ISH™ Food Company, and how did you come up with the idea of creating innovative, sustainable, and healthy plant-based foods?

After I had suffered a life-threatening heart attack, I decided to pursue a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. I had already pursued a life in sustainability efforts, being the Founder and Chair of the Global CO2 Initiative, a member of the Director's Council of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and previously served as an advisor to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. I connected the dots between my passions for living sustainably on earth, which includes eating nutritious foods, and thus, ISH was born. Its mission is to deliver innovative, sustainable, healthy, and delicious plant-based foods to every plate worldwide.  

How do you ensure that the ingredients used in your products are sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly, and what challenges have you faced in this regard?

At ISH, we take a Whole System Approach to develop products, considering every single step and asking how they can make it healthier and more sustainable for all involved.  We use a stoplight method to ensure ingredients meet the nutrition, sustainability, and community standards. 

For example, “yellow” ingredients have a neutral impact in those categories, meaning not detrimental to health but also non-nutritive. This process ensures ISH never uses “red” ingredients such as methylcellulose, a commonly-used vegan binding agent and gut irritant, titanium dioxide, cochineal, palm oil, or any artificial colors or flavors. ISH also strives to avoid added sugar and keeps sodium as low as possible.

What do you consider to be the biggest obstacles facing the plant-based food industry, and how do you see The ISH™ Food Company contributing to overcoming them?

The global plant-based food category is expected to reach $162 billion by 2030, however, plant-based seafood is the smallest piece in the puzzle. More plant-based seafood options are popping up in hopes to become as popular as some of the plant-based meat brands, but the awareness is not as high, especially related to the risks of animal-based seafood, including the presence of plastics and mercury which migrate into those eating them.. 

Our target audience is flexitarians, usually among the Gen Z or Millennial population that want to incorporate more plant-based foods in their diet. However, very few college dining options or mainstream restaurants offer plant-based seafood. ISH is leading the charge here by offering our products with institutions such as Harvard and Amherst.  Our recent partnership with distributor Dot Foods and others will help us expand even farther. 

How do you balance the need to create plant-based foods that are healthy and sustainable with the desire to make them taste delicious and appealing to a wide range of consumers?

Finding the balance between healthy and tasty is no challenge at ISH! As I mentioned with the stoplight system, we utilize a select few “yellow” ingredients to improve taste, since there is no negative health impact, including glycerin for sweetness, sea salt salt for ocean saltiness, and other natural flavors. Some other healthy, “green”, ingredients we use to ensure deliciousness are coconut and algae. 

The biggest challenge is accomplishing the right texture. We solve this by studying the real animal analog and understanding the primary drivers of texture--why cod forms larger flakes than salmon; why calamari is firmer than roe; why shrimp has a unique "snap" in the first bite. Then create dozens of plant-based prototypes to mimic those textural experiences. 

We've amassed a detailed playbook of plant ingredients and quantified their unique properties so we know which ones hold onto water for a moist bite and which ones release water for a juicy burst. The right combination allows us to craft a delicious eating experience reminiscent of the animal at its best, always made from real ingredients and familiar mixing processes that consumers know and understand.

What is your vision for the future of The ISH™ Food Company?

We currently have over 25 product projections in the pipeline, following the success of our shrimp and salmon products, including crab, lobster and cod alternatives that taste and feel like their animal analog. As we continue to create delicious plant-based seafood products and other plant-based products. ISH is planning to launch several products in retail stores soon.

If you would like to find out more about The ISH Company, visit https://www.deliveryrank.com/blog

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