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Creating Plant-Based Seafood With Save Da Sea

June 16, 2024

Founded by Aki Kaltenbach, Save Da Sea is a plant-based seafood company. Their first product, a plant-based smoked salmon made from carrots, uses simple ingredients inlcuding locally-sourced bull kelp and Omega-3s from flax oil to create a smoky, savoury, delicious plant-based alternative. We asked Aki about being a local, plant-based business owner: 

What inspired you to start Save Da Sea?

I came up with the idea for Save Da Sea while I was running my family’s Japanese restaurants. I had become vegan and was looking for seafood alternatives to serve customers and couldn’t find any options, so I started developing my own recipes. It was a side hustle for over a year until I felt confident there was enough demand to take the leap and work in the business full-time. Now our vision is to create products that have the same nutrients and flavour as seafood without the toxins and without harming the planet. 

What advice do you have for aspiring foodpreneurs?

There are a number of local resources and accelerators for small scale food processors including programs like Feeding Growth and Foresight. It’s worth taking advantage of these relatively inexpensive networks to learn from veterans in the industry and connect with other people in the same position as you.

What advice do you have for SFU students who aspire to have their own business one day?

Be patient. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t have the confidence to start my own company until I was 40. Looking back, my education and experience combined with the network I built has been invaluable in helping me grow Save Da Sea from an idea to being available in 150+ stores across Canada. And we’re just getting started :)

What’s coming up next for you?

We just launched into foodservice and will be available on the menu at Simon Fraser University within the next couple months! We also have another product coming out early next year which will be a plant-based tuna salad.

Where can people find you? 

You can find us in Whole Foods, Choices, Nesters, SPUD and a number of other independent retailers in the Lower Mainland. The full list is on our website.

Also, come check us out on Instagram for all things Save Da Sea!