Future Food Quick Bites: Dupe Cheese, Squeezy Sour Cream & TikTok Butter
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In our weekly column, we round up the latest news and developments in the alternative protein and sustainable food industry. This week, Future Food Quick Bites covers a ton of alt-dairy developments, more discussions around banning cultivated meat, and vegan culinary tourism in Sri Lanka.
New products and launches
Canadian vegan cheesemaker Daiya has partnered with The Bear actor Lionel Boyce for Fromage Forgery, a campaign paying tribute to dupe culture. Boyce acted as salesman for the brand’s takeover of Downtown New York City, where over 350 customers tried its new oat-cream-based ‘dupe’ cheese.
Speaking of New York, Actual Veggies, which makes whole-food plant-based burgers, is launching a range of Super Fries in Classic Russet Potato, Sweet Potato and Purple Sweet Potato varieties, which will also contain ingredients like chickpeas and cauliflower. The Classic is available on Hungryroot now.
Fellow New York brand HIPPEAS has launched a new line of chickpea puffs called Flavor Blast!, available in Vegan White Cheddar Explosion and Blazin’ Hot flavours at Sprouts, Amazon and its e-commerce store.
Alt-meat leader Tofurky will soon launch a Plant-Based Pepp’roni in a 4oz pack at Tops Markets in the northeast and Hy-Vee in the midwest, starting this February.
Mycelium meat producer Prime Roots has collaborated with charcuterie and pâté maker Three Little Pigs to bring its Black Truffle Koji-Pâté, Harvest Apple Koji-Pâté and Koji-Foie Gras to customers in New York, Bay Area, and Portland delis.
Meanwhile, following its November announcement, plant-based children’s nutrition brand Kate Farms‘ Pediatric Blended Meals are now available. Eligible for insurance coverage, the vegan whole-food meals come in three flavours, are designed for kids aged one to 13, and can be used for both tube and oral feeding.
In Florida, the Manatee County School District has rolled out Impossible Foods’ burgers and nuggets in student cafeterias at two high schools and three middle schools.
Illinois-based macadamia milk maker Milkadamia has released a new Organic Artisan line of refrigerated SKUs, in original and unsweetened varieties, as well as blends of macadamia with oat, almond or coconut milks. They were showcased at the Winter Fancy Food Show in Las Vegas this month.
Another alt-dairy innovation comes courtesy of Elmhurst, which has launched an oat-milk-based sour cream in a squeezable pouch format. You can find it on its online store and at Publix, with more to follow.
Chilean food tech company NotCo is expanding distribution for its Unsweetened Vanilla and Barista milks, with the former available at Whole Foods nationwide from February. The Barista edition is at grocers like Sprouts Farmers Market, New Seasons, Raley’s Supermarket, Hannaford, Haagen and Met Foodmarkets, and coffee shops like Joe Coffee and Daily Provisions.
If you’re flying to or from the UK, by the way, British Airways is now offering Glebe Farm’s oat milk aboard all its long-haul flights.
Three months after announcing price parity for its vegan own-label Vemondo in Germany, Lidl has expanded those efforts to Austria (as well as Denmark and Hungary), cutting prices by 52% on over 30 meat and dairy analogues.
Elsewhere, French brand YUMGO‘s egg alternatives – which come in powdered and liquid forms for whole eggs, whites and yolks – are now available in Japan, following a partnership with leading deli distributor Nichifutsu Boeki KK.
Indonesian plant-based meat leader Green Rebel has introduced its steak, Balinese skewers and Padang-style rendang SKUs to the frozen section of RedMart stores in Singapore.
And in Israel, Beyond Meat has launched chicken cutlets, nuggets and tenders, with help from distributor Diplomat Plant Based. The brand dominates the country’s alt-meat market share, accounting for 25% just four years after entry.
Financing and collaborations
London-based dairy alternatives company The Coconut Collab has closed a £1.5M Series B funding round from existing investors, which will help it scale production, launch new SKUs and expand internationally.
Indian clean-label vegan nutrition startup Earthful, meanwhile, has raised $400,000, after witnessing a 5x growth over the last year.
Australian bio-based vegan leather company ALT.Leather has secured $100M in a seed funding round to produce the country’s first plant-based alternative to the material.
German catering service company Dussmann is doubling down on its Veganuary initiatives with a Vielfalt Statt Verzicht (Diversity Instead of Sacrifice) campaign in partnership with vegan startups Planted, BettaF!sh, BOONIAN, and Brew Bites, whose dishes are available at 60 Dussmann sites nationwide.
In more collaboration news, Canada’s Modern Plant-Based Foods has “received interest from a diversified multinational entertainment and media conglomerate”, which will see its Vegan Kaviar appear at select dining outlets across the latter’s properties. (While the tone of the release is coy, this is certainly the Walt Disney Company.)
In Sri Lanka, sustainability non-profit SLYCAN Trust has partnered with Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts to launch Plant-Based Gastronomy: Tales of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Heritage. The initiative aims to showcase the country’s plant-based heritage and promote sustainable culinary tourism, with a dedicated vegan food corner at Cinnamon Grand Colombo’s restaurant and the introduction of a vegan chef.
Over in the US, after closing eight stores last year, vegan fast-casual chain Native Foods has converted its three remaining locations in Chicago, Palm Springs and Glendale into an employee ownership model.
Meanwhile, vegan seafood producer New Wave Foods has ceased operations after being unable to pay its debts in full to various creditors, and has entered into a general assignment agreement.
Cultivated meat developments
Researchers at Tufts University have developed bovine muscle cells that produce their own growth factors, which can significantly cut production costs for cultivated beef.
Following discussions about cultivated meat at the EU’s Agrifish Council last week, Hungary may be joining the bandwagon of countries hoping to ban cultured meat, with its agriculture minister meeting the head of Italian farmers’ union Coldiretti (which played a key role in finalising Italy’s ban).
In more alt-protein ban developments, Wisconsin State Assembly representative Peter Schmidt – who is also a Republican dairy farmer – has proposed two bills restricting the labelling of cultivated meat and plant-based milk, following in the footsteps of Arizona.
In the UK, cultivated fat producer Hoxton Farms has expanded its leadership by adding former Impossible Foods senior VP Nick Halla to its board.
Policy, reports and cool videos
@savorfoods How we make butter “from scratch” using our carbon-based fat meant to mimic the properties of milkfat that comes from cows. Can’t wait to see what we cook up with them😋 #buttermaking #buttertok #butterfromscratch #foodtok ♬ Trendsetter – Connor Price & Haviah Mighty
If you followed the viral TikTok homemade butter trend of 2022, and were sad you couldn’t do it with vegan cream, fret not! Californian startup Savor – which makes animal-free fats from a combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen – has released a video showcasing how to make butter from scratch using its fat.
Israel’s Redefine Meat has now made it to the Premier League, with Crystal Palace footballers Chris Richards and James Tomkins taste-testing the 3D-printed plant-based meat in a new video.
After announcing its anti-Veganuary ad campaign Let’s Eat Balanced, UK livestock association the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board is facing pushback from campaigners who have submitted complaints against the ad to the country’s Advertising Standards Authority.
Finally, a new report by ProVeg South Africa has revealed that vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians make up 10-12% of the country’s population and have driven the 33.1% rise in fast-food consumption since 2019. The researchers explore vegan options at QSRs and make recommendations to help the foodservice industry.