NotCo made a plant-based alternative to turtle soup

The work, from Gut, is meant to make the dish more sustainable by avoiding the need to use endangered green sea turtles

Published On
Apr 17, 2024
A bowl of Not Turtle soup

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Turtle soup is a dish that has become more and more rare, despite having cultural significance in some countries. But the biggest problem with the dish is the need for an endangered ingredient—green sea turtle.

Over the past decade, the global green sea turtle population has decreased to an estimated 85,000 turtles due to climate change, loss of habitat and overfishing. 

In honor of Earth Month, NotCo and creative agency Gut came up with NotTurtle Soup, a plant-based alternative developed using AI. The company partnered with Chef Diego Oka to create the recipe. Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Oka specializes in Latin American cuisine and is the executive chef at La Mar at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Miami.

He and the NotCo team traveled to the Cayman Islands—one of the only places where sea turtle meat consumption is still legal—to taste real turtle soup and see how it was made. They then used their notes and NotCo’s AI called “Guiseppe” to analyze plants that would recreate the taste and texture of turtle.


After identifying plant-based ingredients that could replace turtle meat, NotCo and Oka made batches of NotTurtle soup for locals in Peru, where it seems to have passed the taste test.

The campaign is another example of a creative application of AI to solve world issues, Matias Muchnick, CEO at NotCo, said. 

“If Giuseppe can replicate turtle soup in just two weeks, not only are we providing an alternative to an endangered species, it’s a way to say ‘just imagine what else we can do with technology,” he said.

“A lot of people are scared of AI right now,” said Oka.“But this is an amazing way of showing that when humans and tech come together, we can solve any problem.”

As part of the effort, NotCo will host an open online class via MasterClass to teach people how to make NotTurtle soup.