Real meat from the coast

Tunicates are a type of marine invertabrate animal that exist in a range of species. They have been used for cooking in large parts of the World – for centuries.

Pronofa is the first company to invest in large-scale production of food from the tunicate species called Ciona, which grows naturally in Norway and Sweden. This species is also well-suited for feed, as well as foodstuffs and potentially pharmaceuticals.

  • Fantastisk råvare

    Fantastisk råvare

    Fantastisk råvare

    Ciona er kappedyr som lever i sjøen. Det finnes over 3 000 forskjellige typer kappedyr verden, og Pronofa benytter en lokal art som egner seg spesielt godt som en bærekraftig råvare.

  • Bærekraftig havbruk

    Bærekraftig havbruk

    Bærekraftig havbruk

    Ciona trenger hverken gjødsel, fôr eller ferskvann – bare et naturlig sted å vokse i sjøen. De er filterspisere, og hver Ciona filtrerer 3-5 liter vann for plankton i timen. Dette bidrar til å fjerne eutrofiering og bedre  vannkvaliteten sjøen.

  • Ekte kjøtt

    Ekte kjøtt

    Ekte kjøtt

    Purply-kjøttdeig, som er laget av Ciona, er relativt nøytral i smaken. Den kan derfor krydres og brukes på samme måte som vanlig kjøttdeig. Det smaker ikke marint som fisk eller annen sjømat, men ligner desto mer på rødt eller hvitt kjøtt.

Tunicates as food

Because tunicate meat consists of animal protein, it has many of the same characteristics as other types of meat. 

It does not taste marine in the same way as fish or shellfish. Consequently, tunicate meat works well in popular dishes like taco, pasta, pizza, hamburgers, meatballs, steamed buns and spring rolls.

The Umami fond from tunicate broth can be added to stews, woks, sauces and soups to intensify the other tastes. Umami is sometimes referred to by cooks as «The Fifth Taste», in addition to salt, sour, sweet and bitter. 

The fond also brings forth what some people claim is a sixth taste:  «Kokumi». This is a nearly imperceptible, subtle taste of fullness and complexity – a bit like aged wine, or a cheese which has matured in exactly the right way. In any case, it’s good. The Umami fond has become a hit among Swedish master chefs, and received several awards.

Bon appétit!

– It tastes absolutely wonderful. It tastes more like meat than fish!
(At the Bellona event «Ravareløftet». Source: Nationen.no)

Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran
The minister for Fishery and Ocean, 2022

Fish- and animal feed

Our employees at Marine Taste (Stenungsund, Sweden), have researched different uses for tunicates over the last 10 years. For bio mass (bio fuel, bio energy) to animal feed, and then food.

The positive response for our food products is the reason why we want to explore this market first.

However, Pronofa has not ruled out exploring other uses in parallel or at a later stage. Fish- or animal feed can be interesting.

Also, tunicates are rich in a number of nutrients and can possibly be used in dietary supplements or pharmaceuticals.

Extremely low carbon footprint


Tunicates are probably the Word’s most climate-smart source of protein.

The CO2 footprint equals just 0.8 kg. CO2 equivalents per kg. protein. That means that per kg. meat in our end-products, the figure will be even lower than this.

The meat used in the tunicate burger that we have served for several occasions has for example an estimated climate footprint of 0.25 kg. CO2 EQ per kg. meat.

The climate footprint is even lower that most types of fruit and vegetables, and significantly lower than other types of meat and fish.

Tunicates just eat plankton


Tunicates are probably the World’s most climate-friendly source of protein, with a et CO2 footprint that will be hardly noticeable if you factor in the positive effect the cultivation has for water quality in the fjords. 

Before a subtracting for this effect, tunicates are still just at 0.8 kg. CO2 equivalents per kg. protein. (i.e. per kg. meat it will be even lower).

Cultivation of tunicates do not require any inputs or fertilizers, no feed or substrates, no irrigation – simply the right competence and equipments to make this profitable on a big scale.

When tunicates grow in the water, they rely only on plankton for nourishment. This contributes to remove surplus nitrogen stemming from agricultural runoff. Less concentration of plankton removes so-called «eutrophication» and improves oxygen levels in the sea. As such, we can say that they contribute to filtrating the water from surplus nitrogen. 

Norwegian environmental organizations have advocated to cultivate tunicates in the Oslofjord, solely for the purpose of removing excess nitrogen in a natural way. This is a good initiative that we support. 

If we in addition can harvest and use the tunicates for something (i.e. produce food or feed), we can fulfill the UN’s three dimensions for sustainable development. This includes economic sustainability, which practically means value creation and new, «green» jobs in the aquaculture industry.

Another big advantage with tunicates is that they do not share the characteristics of mussels, which for certain periods can contain toxins. The tunicate’s structure and short growth cycle help to limit so-called «bio accumulation» of such harmful toxins.


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