Future Food Quick Bites: Oat Milk Soap, New TiNDLE CEO & Plant-Based Diplomas

8 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 Beyond Meat’s giant Costco partnership, a new CEO for plant-based chicken maker TiNDLE Foods, Dove’s upcoming plant-based milk soaps, and a host of (positive and negative) ads about veganism.

New products and launches

Personal care brand Dove is set to launch Plant Milk Cleansing Bars in January, which are said to have a 98% biodegradable formulation and will be available in four scents: Coconut Milk & Sugar Lychee, Macadamia Milk & Willow Lavender, Oat Milk & Berry Brulee, and Turmeric Milk & Lemon Drop.

beyond burger
Courtesy: Beyond Meat

Plant-based giant Beyond Meat has unveiled a new look and flavour for its signature burger as part of an exclusive Costco deal across the US, which is available in frozen 10-packs.

New York-based upcycling brand The Spare Food Co. has debuted a plant-based Spare Starter ingredient blend, which comprises six vegetables and a spice mix. The product can be used to replace animal protein in burgers and meatballs, and uses parts of produce usually discarded in food production.

Retail giant Trader Joe’s has revamped its private-label meatless breakfast sausage patties with a 100% vegan recipe. The previous iteration, which was discontinued a couple of years ago, contained eggwhites and a base of soy protein – the new recipe has a wheat protein base.

Also in the US, specialty mushroom company Smallhold has released a vegan upcycled mushroom pesto packed with blue oysters, trumpets and shiitakes, complemented by roasted aromatics, spices and balsamic vinegar. It’s available in health stores nationwide.

mushroom pesto
Courtesy: Smallhold

After revealing it was in discussions with partners, Canadian vegan seafood brand Konscious Foods is entering the foodservice sector in the US in 2024. The brand’s portfolio for restaurants will include four varieties of plant-based sushi, salmon and tuna blocks or pieces, a vegan snow crab, and four kinds of onigiri.

In France, fellow alt-seafood startup Ocean Kiss has launched the country’s first vegan smoked salmon product, made with a blend of pea protein and marine algae.

In more plant-based seafood news, you’ll soon be able to order a chilli-cheese style vegan tuna baguette if you’re travelling on a train in Germany, thanks to a partnership between BettaF!sh and national rail company Deutsche Bahn.

More from Europe: German ingredients manufacturer Loryma has launched a vegan egg substitute for baked goods. The wheat-based Lory Stab replaces the technical properties of eggs (and milk) in bakery products like muffins and sponge cakes.

vegan egg replacer
Courtesy: Loryma

Nestlé, meanwhile, is bringing back its Garden Gourmet-branded Voie Gras for the holidays. The vegan foie gras is made from a miso and soy base, and will be available in the supermarket fridges in Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Also in the Netherlands, The Vegetarian Butcher has launched a whole vegan stuffed turkey for Christmas, available exclusively in its plant-based meat butchery in Rotterdam (orders are closed now). It’s part of a wider Christmas menu that includes a meatloaf and a shwostopping three-person platter.

In the UK, Fry’s Family Foods has teamed up with animation house Aardman to commemorate the launch of the new Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget movie with branded vegan nuggets, available at Tesco, Iceland and Spar stores in time for Veganuary.

British tofu maker The Tofoo Co. has revamped its marinated range with two new flavours: Smoky BBQ Strips and Lightly Spiced Pieces, which can be pan-fried in eight minutes. The ready-to-cook SKus will be available across British supermarkets from January.

WNWN Food Labs co-founder Johnny Drain is launching a new book on the science of fermented foods, with global rights bought by Penguin. Titled Ferment for Flavour, it’s set for a 2025 debut.

And famed cooking school Le Cordon Bleu is expanding its vegan offerings in London with two new specialised three-month plant-based diplomas, focusing on whole-foods-forward cuisine as well as pâtisserie, adding to the existing plant-based course launched in 2019. It comes weeks after its Malaysia branch announced its first vegan diploma – all these courses will begin next year.

Policy and labelling news

Unilever – one of the world’s largest CPG companies – is facing a greenwashing investigation from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority after allegedly overstating how sustainable some of its products are through vague claims and unclear statements about recycling.

Beyond Meat has filed to dismiss the lawsuit that alleged the company had misrepresented its investors over its finances, over a “failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted”.

South Korea’s new labelling guidance prohibits conventional terms like ‘beef’, ‘milk’ and ‘egg’ on plant-based analogues, but it allows companies to emphasise the nature of the product or the name of the substituted raw material – for example, ‘plant-based bulgogi’ or ‘bulgogi made from soybeans’ is fair game.

Courtesy: NotCo

One company that’s fighting the labelling battle is Chile’s NotCo, which has appealed against the ban on the use of its NotMilk trademark in its home country with a survey showing that 99.9% of consumers do not think NotMilk is milk.

Meanwhile, two weeks after launching a standardised terminology tool, Cellular Agriculture Australia has unveiled a Regulation Resource Hub to support companies in Australia and New Zealand through food safety regulation processes for novel foods and gene technology.

Finance and corporate moves

Ventrue capital firm Lever VC has increased its equity stake in Mexican plant protein powder and supplements company Birdman, which is gearing up for a US launch after hitting $65M in sales.

vegan news
Courtesy: Birdman

After gaining a multimillion-dollar investment from Suntory last month, US beanless coffee company Atomo is preparing to launch in over 100 coffee shops by April 2024, with 500 targeted by the end of the year. Its espresso is currently available at Gumption Coffee in New York in 450g pouches, and available for pre-order on its website.

US whole-cut meat producer Meati is capping off an eventful year with funding from athletes. The company has added Olympian gymnast Aly Raisman and NBA All-Star Chris Paul (both multiple gold medallists) to its list of investors.

Across the Atlantic, Belgian precison fermentation cheese startup Those Vegan Cowboys has opened a €15M funding round to scale Margaret, its tech platform to develop animal-free casein.

Catalan whole-cut vegan meat producer Libre Foods has been awarded a €335,000 R&D grant by Neotec, a public programme supporting tech startups to create a cost-effective mycelium ingredient for alt-meat.

Finnish air protein startup Solar Foods is leading a consortium (which includes Gingko Bioworks and two Dutch universities) that has been awarded €5.5M from the European Innovation Council Pathfinder programme. The financing is directed towards a precision-fermented whey protein project called HYDROCOW, where microbes are fed with CO2 and hydrogen instead of sugar.

UK artisan vegan cheese maker Honestly Tasty has closed a new oversubscribed funding round, bringing in £304,000. It plans to expand into foodservice and wholesale now, along with a wider move into the European market. Plus, the brand has reduced its product emissions by 65% in three months, working with carbon labelling startup My Emissions.

honestly tasty
Courtesy: Honestly Tasty

British bioprocess optimisation software company New Wave Biotech and cultivated meat growth media producer Multus have collaborated to accelerate and scale up cultured meat production using AI.

Also in the UK, cultivated fat producer Hoxton Farms has tapped leading executives from cultivated meat pioneers Good Meat (a subsidiary of Eat Just) and Aleph Farms, with the former’s senior cellular agriculture director Vítor Espirito Santo taking up Hoxton’s head of cell biology role, and the latter’s R&D engineering director Nadav Tai appointed as systems engineering lead.

Singapore-headquartered alt-meat producer TiNDLE Foods has appointed co-founder and executive chairman Timo Recker as its new CEO, following the departure of former chief Andre Menezes. Recker had previously served as CEO from July 2020 to May 2021, and will relocate to Germany. Menezes will remain a Board member and shareholder while stepping away from day-to-day operations.

Pop culture

The meat lobby has launched a fresh attack on alternative protein. After years of targeted ads by the Center for Consumer Freedom (a meat industry interest group), the Center for Environment and Welfare is a new association that seems dedicated to thwarting attempts to make food better for the environment and animal welfare, with a new ad attacking cultivated meat that you’ll find suspiciously similar.

To counter stuff like this, Scottish zero-ABV beer brewer Days and French vegan pork producer La Vie have linked up on a UK marketing campaign to hit back at the trolls who mock alcohol-free booze and plant-based meat.

plant based news
Courtesy: Days/La Vie

Speaking of ads, the Eat Differently campaign is airing 60-second PSAs at 1,800 US cinemas ahead of the new Wonka movie, promoting the adoption of a plant-based diet.

And finally, Indian cricketer Virat Kohli went viral after posting an Instagram story praising a vegan chicken tikka product by alt-meat brand Blue Tribe, which he’s an investor in. People were initially confused as they didn’t realise it was plant-based, with the sportsman famously known for having a meat-free lifestyle.

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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