Future Food Quick Bites: Nicki Minaj’s Sneakers, Mycelium Chocolate & A Vegan Cheese MVP

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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 Macalat’s mycelium-derived vegan chocolate, a blended meatloaf launch, and Daiya’s new job opening.

New products and launches

American rapper Nicki Minaj has rolled out a collection of vegan sneakers in collaboration with luxury shoe and apparel brand Løci. The lineup features 11 unisex leather shoes with a logo nodding to her reputation as the Queen of Rap and Løci’s British roots. They’re priced between $185 and $200.

nicki minaj sneakers
Courtesy: Løci

Swiss plant-based meat leader Planted has now entered the Italian market, with all Esselunga stores nationwide carrying its clean-label meat analogues.

Chilean food tech startup NotCo‘s vegan products will be part of six sandwich options on the Premium Economy in-flight dining offerings of LATAM Airlines‘ domestic flights.

In New York City, Swedish plant-based meat maker Havredals has partnered with Björk Cafe & Bistro on a new blended meat dish called 50-50 Meatloaf, which combines the former’s vegan fava bean grounds with the latter’s grass-fed ground beef.

Care for some mycelium chocolate? US company Macalat has introduced a sugar-free, vegan dark chocolate bar using ClearIQ, a mycelium-derived flavour modulator in partnership with mycoprotein tech startup MycoTechnology.

Also in the mycelium world, koji meat company Prime Roots has launched an Earth Day campaign featuring a Cybertruck, with which it will deliver one million slices of its deli meats across the US.

julienne bruno
Courtesy: Julienne Bruno

London-based artisanal vegan cheesemaker Julienne Bruno has revamped the packaging for its stracciatella, burrata and cream cheese analogues, with bolder, more playful fonts and new imagery.

And Frenc plant-based meat startup La Vie has launched three triangle-shaped sandwiches using either its bacon or ham: Le Parisien, Le Suédois, and Le British. They’re available at various French retailers, including Carrefour, Intermarché, Auchan and Cora France.

Finance and company developments

Miyoko’s Creamery founder Miyoko Schinner has joined the board of Hip Hop is Green, a climate change and hip-hop-focused non-profit that advocates for veganism, serves thousands of free plant-based meals, and promotes wellness.

Canadian vegan cheesemaker Daiya is hiring a new vice-president for melting, which it is calling MVP, to look for recipes that showcase the attributes of its newly formulated oat-cream-based cheeses. Those ‘hired’ will earn $20,000 and a year’s supply of vegan cheese.

future food quick bites
Courtesy: Daiya

Blue Diamond Growers‘ Japan operations and distribution will now be led by juice giant Kagome, which will look to speed up the market growth and demand for its Almond Breeze line of milk alternatives, and launch new products in September.

In Europe, McCain Foods has acquired the Irish whole-food plant-based brand Strong Roots for an undisclosed sum, following on from its $55M investment in the startup in 2021.

Swedish agtech startup OlsAro, which has made salt-tolerant wheat with its AI-enabled climate-smart crop-breeding platform, has raised €2.5M in a seed funding round.

In the UK, carbon labelling startup My Emissions has brought in £1.3M in seed funding to expand its emissions calculation and scope 3 reporting services. Its co-founders Matthew Isaacs and Nathan Bottomley have also been named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe Class of 2024 list for Social Impact.

UK mycoprotein giant Quorn has exited the Belgium and Dutch retail markets, following a year of financial struggles. It will continue to operate in the foodservice and QSR channels in the Benelux region.

quorn sales
Courtesy: Quorn

Swiss plant-based infant and child nutrition startup Yamo is shutting down, with its co-founder and CEO Tobias Gunzenhauser noting that the company was unable to secure investment during its push towards profitability.

Manufacturing, awards and events

Israeli cultivated seafood company Efishient Protein has successfully developed a tilapia cell line, which will allow it to produce muscle and fat cells of the fish species.

UK B2B cellular agriculture company Quest Meat has created edible, food-safe microcarrier replacements, which it describes as the most promising way to scale up cultivated meat production.

Australia’s Wide Open Agriculture, meanwhile, has developed a soluble lupin fibre with a smooth texture and neutral taste that’s ready to be commercialised. It’s a byproduct of its Buntine Protein powder, made in collaboration with Curtin University, and both can be used to enhance the creaminess of plant-based dairy.

Vancouver startups Maia Farms and Ecoation have won $380,000 from the Canadian Space Agency and Impact Canada‘s Deep Space Food Challenge with their growing system for mycelium and fruits and vegetables, which can produce 700kg of fresh food annually in a wardrobe-sized device.

US fungi protein startup Nature’s Fynd has won the Sustainable Systems Innovations honour at the inaugural CleanTech Breakthrough Awards, after topping Forward Fooding’s FoodTech 500 list for 2024 and appearing on Food Network Magazine’s 2024 Green List.

Ingredients giant Givaudan, meanwhile, has launched a Plant Attitude Challenge for alternative protein startups, which will see five companies pitch how to reduce their recipes’ cost by up to 20% while retaining the flavour experience. BVeg Foods, Eat Typcal, Eternal, Juicy Marbles and Meatless Kingdom are the five finalists, who will take the virtual floor today.

plant based whole cut steak
Courtesy: Juicy Marbles

Finally, in Berlin, Lidl Germany hosted a protein transition event convening 110 stakeholders to discuss the future of protein, animal welfare and supply chain. It revealed that its decision to match plant-based prices with conventional products had led to a 30% vegan sales hike.

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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