Future Food Quick Bites: IKEA Hot Dogs, Blended Dairy & Expo West Awards

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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 IKEA’s cheaper-than-meat vegan hot dogs, a new range of blended dairy products, and plant-based restaurant openings in New York City.

New products and launches

Swedish furniture giant IKEA has rolled out vegan hot dogs in the US as part of its goal to be 50% plant-based by 2025. At 70 cents, it’s cheaper than a conventional meat hot dog (which costs 75 cents).

ikea vegan hot dog
Courtesy: IKEA

In similar price-related news, Dutch supermarket Jumbo has decided to stop all meat promotions, updating its protein transition commitment to ensure 50% of the protein on its shelves next year is plant-based, rising to 60% by 2030.

French charcuterie company Aoste has expanded into the plant-based meat sector with a new range of products under the Better Balance brand, which includes burgers, sausages, breaded cutlets, original chunks, and chunks with herbs, all with a Nutri-Score of A.

South Korea’s Shinesegae Foods has launched You Are What You Eat under its Better Foods division at last week’s Expo West. The new brand contains 10 new meat analogues and plant-based meal replacement products, and underpins the company’s plans to accelerate entry into the US market.

In New York City, vegan Ethiopian restaurant Ras Plant Based – whose original restaurant is in Crown Heights, Brooklyn – is opening its second location in the West Village this May.

That’s not the only new vegan eatery in New York City, with Homemade Vegan Dumpling House, Sen Saigon (both in Chinatown) and Siete (Flatiron) all opening their doors this month.

kerry blended dairy
Courtesy: Neggst/IKEA/Kerry Dairy

In what it terms as a “category first”, Kerry Dairy has introduced a range of blended Smug Dairy range of products made from cow’s milk and oat milk, which includes a milk SKU, a butter, and a Cheddar cheese block. The new offerings will hit retail shelves in the UK by the end of this month.

Californian brand Mikuna has been named the exclusive plant protein supplier at Erewhon‘s Tonic Bars, which will use the former’s regenerative, highly functional chocho protein.

German startup Neggst is developing two plant-based egg products: poached and sunny-side-up eggs with runny yolks. The innovations were unveiled at the Internorga trade fair alongside its existing vegan egg patties and bites.

And in the US, market leader Just Egg is now available at Peet’s Coffee, featuring in a new Southwest Breakfast Burrito with plant-based chorizo, Violife Cheddar, black beans, potatoes, salsa verde and green chiles, as well as an Everything Breakfast Sandwich with vegan Cheddar.

Partnerships and company updates

US flavour and fragrance house IFF has invested in high-moisture extrusion technology from German specialist Coperion to develop improved plant-based meat and seafood products.

Californian startup Triplebar Bio has partnered with ingredients giant FrieslandCampina to create a cost-effective approach to scale up production for its precision-fermented lactoferrin protein.

cauldron tofu
Courtesy: Cauldron Foods

UK tofu brand Cauldron Foods has announced a complete rebrand that includes colourful packaging and several new products, such as Spinach & Carrot and Pumpkin & Caramelised Onion Veggie Bakes, as well as a new extra-firm tofu block, which will debut at various retailers in April.

In an unexpected twist, Irish shellfish producer Errigal Bay is opening an oat milk factory next to its seafood processing facility in Donegal – which was supposed to be a cold storage plant – citing a growing market for plant-based milk and falling demand for seafood.

In more plant-based beverage production news, DSM-Firmenich has opened a pilot plant in Plainsboro, New Jersey focused on scaling up production of both dairy and vegan drinks like milks, creamers and protein shakes.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s microbial fermentation contract manufacturer ScaleUp Bio – a joint venture company between ADM and Temasek – has signed local startups Allozymes and Algrow Biosciences as new customers, alongside agreements with Terra Bioindustries (Canada) and Argento Labs (UK), weeks ahead of opening its commercial-scale pilot plant.

Policy and finance

The USDA’s National Institute of Cellular Agriculture at Tufts University – the country’s first government-funded centre for cultivated meat – has opened applications for its Seed Grant Program 2024, which will award $25,000 or $50,000 for research into alternative proteins, cellular agriculture and precision fermentation.

Over in the cocoa-free chocolate world, UK startup Nukoko has raised €1.3M in seed funding to support production of its faba-bean-to-bar chocolate offering.

Fellow UK company Clean Food Group, which makes a fermentation-based alternative to palm oil, has secured £2.5M in funding to accelerate its path to commercialisation. It follows a £2.4M round in August, and brings total investment to £13M.

clean food group
Courtesy: Laurie Lapworth/University of Bath

German cultivated meat producer Innocent Meat has brought in €3M to accelerate development of its biocomponents, scale up its pilot plant, and initiate certification processes.

Students at Harvard University will host an inaugural Food 4 Thought event from April 12-14, with the aim of addressing the food system’s challenges, especially the overconsumption of meat.

Finally, there were a host of vegan wins at Expo West‘s NEXTY Awards 2024, including Macalat, MyForest Foods, Ocean’s Halo, Minor Figures, Burroughs Family Farms, Konscious Foods, GoodPop, The Coconut Cult and Le Grand.

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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