Future Food Quick Bites: Fresh Oat Milk, Maple Leaf Merger & Vegan Easter Eggs

4 Mins Read

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 Oato’s oat milk launch in retail, Maple Leaf Foods’ consolidation, and a spate of alternative seafood developments.

New products and launches

A week after announcing its financial results for 2023 and promising product expansion, Oatly has launched a new line of oat milk creamers in four flavours for the US market: sweet and creamy, mocha, vanilla and caramel.

oato oat milk
Courtesy: Oato

UK startup Oato has secured a listing for its fresh oat milks at Booths supermarket, which operates in the country’s northwest region. The barista whole oat milk comes in 1l bottles shaped like cow’s milk.

London-based oat milk chocolate brand HiP (Happiness in Plants) has upgraded its vegan Easter eggs, which are now 50% bigger and contain chocolate buttons inside. They’re available in Salted Caramel and Cookies No Cream flavours.

In the US, plant-based milk maker Mooala has introduced single-serve versions of its banana milk in Sprouts stores nationwide. The range is available in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavours, and priced at $1.49 per 8oz bottle.

Chicago-based dairy company Truly Grass Fed has launched a premium gluten-free oat milk line in original and extra creamy variants, which are available at select The Fresh Market locations, and at Lowes Foods and Natural Grocers soon.

Meanwhile, US food tech startup microTERRA has unveiled a duckweed-based ingredient aimed at sugar reduction. The innovation amplifies sweetness perception to help cut back on sugar in food and beverages without compromising on any functional attributes.

New York-based company InnovoPro has developed a plant-based barista product with chickpea protein, which can remove the need for buffers and emulsifiers in high-protein beverages and fruit shakes.

ichiran vegan ramen
Courtesy: Ichiran

Japanese ramen chain Ichiran is introducing a vegan tonkotsu ramen kit in the US, which is the result of six years of R&D. Comprising a liquid broth concentrate, ramen oil, togarashi seasoning and Hakata-style noodles, it will be available starting March 1.

Californian plant-based meat player Beleaf has inked a new distribution partnership with Dot Foods to expand the presence of its meat, shrimp and egg analogues nationwide in the US.

US fast-casual chain Pokeworks has expanded its partnership with vegan seafood producer Impact Food, which will see the eatery serve the latte’s vegan tuna in its Bay Area locations.

It’s a big week for seafood news. Dutch plant-based brand Vegan Zeastar will open a pop-up restaurant Zèta, a vegan eatery at Grote Markt in The Hague. Running from March 5-10, it will showcase dishes using its vegan crab, shrimp and sashimi.

Fellow Dutch vegan producer The Vegetarian Butcher is launching its first fish SKU, called Krosse Flosse. The breaded product is now available in Germany.

the vegetarian butcher fish
Courtesy: The Vegetarian Butcher

And Brazilian plant-based meat startup Future Farm is reformulating its entire product range to elevate the taste and texture attributes of its vegan chicken, beef and seafood analogues.

Finance and closures

British vegan sweets startup Tasty Mates has bagged a £60,000 Dragons’ Den investment for a 15% stake from Peter Jones, though negotiations are still ongoing over a lower share.

UK vegan burger chain The Vurger Co has shut its doors over a year after it was rescued from administration, citing post-pandemic challenges and insufficient government support.

the vurger co
Courtesy: The Vurger Co

Across the Atlantic, Brooklyn-based specialty mushroom company Smallhold, which specialised in vertical farming, has filed for bankruptcy, after it emerged that the business was in worse financial shape than previously disclosed.

Portland, Oregon’s fermentation-focused vegan deli and restaurant Fermenter is also closing. But it’s a positive sign, as the team is revamping the concept for a launch in April. The brand, meanwhile, will live on through products and classes.

Policy and corporate moves

Canadian meat giant Maple Leaf Foods is merging its meat and plant protein businesses – including Lightlife and Field Roast – into a single unit to simplify its operations and drive growth across all categories.

Dutch cultivated pork producer Meatable has appointed industry executives Lorne Abony and Patricia Malarkey to its board of directors as it awaits the regulatory greenlight in Singapore ahead of its planned launch later this year.

eu cultivated meat
Courtesy: Meatable

France has officially banned the use of meat-related terms on the product labelling of plant-based alternatives, which includes 21 terms – although ‘burger’ is not on the prohibited list.

And in the UK, the Green Party mayor of Worcester, Louis Stephen, has taken meat off the menu for the council’s receptions to serve an exclusively plant-based menu to highlight food’s impact on climate change.

Check out last week’s Future Food Quick Bites.


  • Anay Mridul

    Anay is Green Queen's resident news reporter. Originally from India, he worked as a vegan food writer and editor in London, and is now travelling and reporting from across Asia. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, food tech, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford comma.

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