This Week in Alt Food: Upside’s Cultured Chicken, Chipotle’s Plant-Based Chorizo and A New Vegan Butter
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Just a few short years ago, it was unusual to get more than a handful of stories each week about meat analogues, dairy alternatives, and other alt foods. Nowadays, the opposite is true. In fact, there are so many developments in the alt-protein space we decided to create a weekly post that gathers all the various bits of news out there into one single place for easy reading. This week, a Michelin-starred chef gets into cultured meat, Chipotle debuts plant-based chorizo, and a new vegan butter hits store shelves.
Upside Foods and chef Dominique Crenn to debut cultured chicken in San Francisco.
Upside Foods, the alt-protein company formerly known as Memphis Meats, is partnering with Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn to debut a cultured chicken product at her Atelier restaurant in San Francisco. This is the first partnership for Upside. The company plans to partner with other chefs in the U.S. as well as sell to grocery stores and other markets around the world. The partnership is contingent on Upside getting regulatory approval to actually sell its cultured meat products in the U.S. The company says it is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on building a regulatory framework.
Better Meat Co.’s mycelium steak makes its first public appearance.
Sacramento, California’s Better Meat Co. recently showed off its mycelium-based steak product via a day-only tasting event at Bennett’s American Cooking steak house. Better Meat Co. uses its own proprietary mycoprotein called Rhiza, which is created via a fermentation process that results in a biomass that can be harvested and turned into alternative meat products. The tasting event arrives on the heels of the company’s recent completion of its production plant in West Sacramento that will serve as both an R&D and production facility.
Chipotle launches a chorizo made from pea protein
U.S.-based fast-casual chain Chipotle is testing new plant-based chorizo at stores in Denver, Colo., and Indianapolis, Ind., for a limited time. This is the first plant-based protein offering from the chain since 2014, when it launched its Sofritas menu item. The new chorizo uses pea protein as a base ingredient, and is, according to the company, certified vegan. From now until Aug. 29, Chipotle is offering $0 delivery fees for all items ordered with the plant-based chorizo in the select markets.
Violife graduates from vegan cheese to vegan butter
Vegan food company Violife has launched a vegan butter that’s currently available in Asda supermarkets in the United Kingdom. Named Vioblock, the butter product is made from a blend of coconut oil, sunflower oil, and rapeseed oil, and fortified by vitamins B1, B2, B6, and B12. Violife is best known for its line of vegan cheeses available in over 50 countries. The move to offer butter suggests the company has big plans for product expansion in the future.
Survey: Brits are giving up meat . . . or at least cutting back
Almost 40 percent of all Brits say they have “actively reduced or removed” animal products from their diet, according to a new survey from The Vegan Society and vegan recipe channel BOSH! For both meat and dairy, “personal health” was cited as the number one reason among respondents for cutting back, followed by environmental concerns. The survey coincides with the fifth anniversary of the BOSH! brand, which is often referred to as “the vegan Jamie Oliver.”
COVID-19 causes production headaches and ingredient shortages for NOBLE Jerky
NOBLE Jerky announced earlier this month that it is having trouble meeting an “unprecedented demand” for its vegan protein products at a time when there are still COVID-19-related shortages in the global food supply chain (via press release sent to Green Queen). The company said in its recent statement that it is experiencing “shortages across a variety of ingredients” it needs to manufacture its vegan protein products, which include a variety of plant-based jerky flavors. The company added it is working “around the clock” to resolve the situation.
Animal cruelty is found via undercover investigation at a catfish slaughterhouse.
An undercover investigation conducted by nonprofit Animal Equality found cases of animal cruelty at a Simmons Farm-Raised Catfish slaughterhouse in Mississippi that supplies many mainstream restaurants and grocery chains. The investigation discovered that fish were kept out of water for periods reaching up to an hour and left to suffocate. Conscious fish were beheaded, and rejected bycatch and turtles were ground up alive in a macerator. Animal Equality says the investigation reveals “persistent violations of Mississippi state law” around animal cruelty. The organization is calling for criminal charges against Simmons.
Lead image courtesy of Upside Foods.