I’m thrilled fishless vegan “tuna” exists, if only for its punny name

Photo: Loma Linda TUNO

Plant-based meat alternatives are no passing fad. They’re mainstream enough to fill White Castle sliders and strike fear in the hearts of ranchers. So why hadn’t I considered plant-based seafood until today? Friends, I am thrilled to announce that it is exists, if only because its brand name—TUNO—is so punny and wonderful.

I can’t say whether TUNO tastes good. I can’t say whether there’s a market for it. I can’t say whether it will be the magic bullet that saves global overfishing. But I can say that I am just tickled that its straightforward, wonderfully dorky wordplay exists.

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The “completely fish-free” product is currently for sale on Amazon, and should hit grocery stores including Walmart, Safeway, Sprouts, Food Lion, Meijer, and Shaw’s next month. Instead of tuna (tu-NO!), it’s made with “plant-based protein ingredients” that “tastes like real tuna.” A glance at its nutrition label shows the plant-based protein ingredient in question is, as you probably guessed, soy, or more specifically “non-GMO textured soy flour.” (You can see why they went with a catchier name.)

One cool detail about TUNO is that it’s available in three flavors: standard TUNO in spring water, TUNO lemon-pepper, and spicy TUNO with sriracha. That last one especially intrigues me: Hey, why doesn’t Bumblebee or Chicken Of The Sea make canned tuna with sriracha? I like to add a dose of hot sauce to my tuna salad, and this would save me that completely laborious extra 2 seconds. Only StarKist has seen the light, with its Tuna Creations Bold Sriracha pouch tuna. (I know it’s irrational, but tuna in a bag weirds me out. Cans forever!)

Anyway, I can really say nothing for TUNO other than I applaud both its sriracha flavor and its punny name. Whether it actually tastes like fish is of secondary concern.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.