The Week In Food Tech: Canada’s PlantX Opens US Flagship Store, Plus Vegan Breakfast From Denny’s, Field Roast, and Eat Just
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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 and food tech space we decided to create a weekly column that gathers all the various bits of news out there into one single place for easy reading.
This week was all about breakfast. Denny’s, Eat Just, Field Roast, and others all made announcements around plant-based products and menu items for that meal. Meanwhile, Canada’s PlantX launched a Flagship store in California and India’s Soyarich Foods dropped new vegan dairy alternatives.
US: Canada’s PlantX opens huge San Diego store
As part of its US expansion, Canadian e-commerce site PlantX has opened the doors on a 4,500-square-foot US flagship store in San Diego, California called XMarket. The store stocks retail items from popular vegan brands and offers same-day delivery through Uber Eats. The space also includes a vegan cafe.
Canada: Maple Leaf Foods reviews plant-based division after declining sales
Maple Leaf Foods, parent company of brands like Lightlife and Field Roast, will review its plant-based division, Greenleaf Foods, after a recent earnings report showed that sales of Greenleaf products were down 6.6%. In August, sales were down 20.7% compared to 2020. The company says it will analyze these numbers, but has not yet said what next steps will be once the analysis is complete.
US: SunOpta unveils oat-based creamer brand
Minnesota-based plant-based food and beverage company SunOpta has launched SOWN, its new line of oat-based organic coffee and tea creamers. The creamers use SunOpta’s own proprietary recipe using organic oats sourced from North American growers, and come in three flavors: Vanilla, Unsweetened, and Sweet & Creamy
US: Consumers prefer the word ‘chicken’ to describe plant-based chicken
A survey by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) has found that consumers’ top preferences for naming alt-chicken products include “plant-based chicken” (45%), “meatless chicken” (42%), “vegan chicken” (32%), “plant-based strips” (29%), and “vegetarian chicken” (29%). Of the survey’s respondents, two-thirds (65%) said they had eaten plant-based meat alternatives during the survey timeframe.
India: Soyarich Foods launches new range of vegan yogurts, spreads
Pune-based soy protein company Soyarich Foods is diversifying its product lineup to include a plant-based yogurt called Yofu, which will come in a few different flavors. The company has also launched two flavors of a new plant-based cheesy spread and Tofu Pickle in two varieties.
US: Restaurant chain Denny’s will include vegan breakfast items on menus
Denny’s, one of America’s most popular breakfast haunts, is now exploring the option to add plant-based items to its breakfast menu, following pressure from animal-rights groups that have pushed major chains to consider vegan-friendly menus. Denny’s has not yet announced specific dishes, but the chain does have an existing partnership with Beyond Meat already in play.
US: Lauran Madden, Ph.D., becomes Blue Nalu’s CTO
Cell-based seafood maker Blue Nalu has promoted Lauran Madden to the role of chief technology officer to the company. Dr. Madden was the company’s first employee back in 2018, and has played a huge role in shaping Blue Nalu’s tech strategy and platform implementation.
Canada: Roquette to build the ‘world’s largest pea protein plant’
France-based multinational plant-based food company Roquette is building a new plant outside Portage la Prarie in Manitoba to manufacture pea protein. The facility will expand Roquette’s North American presence while simultaneously pumping out 125,000 metric tons of yellow peas annually.
US: Aqua Cultured Foods hires Bob Schultz
Aqua Cultured Foods, a company developing whole-muscle cuts of seafood alternatives, has hired Bob Schultz as their new lead scientist. Schultz was previously at plant-based food company Simulate, where he was the lead food engineer and product lead for Nuggs chicken nuggets.
US: Eat Just partners with Aloft Hotels for breakfast
Starting now, Eat Just’s JUST EGG will be part of a breakfast concept at Aloft Hotels, of which there are about 150 across North America. The JUST folded egg will be paired with a Beyond sausage patty and veggies on an everything bagel. This is Eat Just’s first major launch for JUST Egg at a major hotel chain.
US: Field Roast and JUST Egg partner on breakfast sandwich
Speaking of breakfast, Eat Just and Greenleaf Foods’ Field Roast brand are partnering to release a vegan breakfast sandwich that will be available exclusively at Whole Foods stores in the US. A wider distribution to other retailers is slated for 2022.
Canada: Horray Foods unleashes plant-based bacon
Hooray Foods‘ plant-based bacon is officially available in Canada at Sobeys, Safeway, and Thrifty Foods stores. The launch comes after the company sold 1.3 million strips of bacon in the U.S. since launch.
Lead image courtesy of PlantX.