Future Food Quick Bites: Sizzling Steaks, Parliamentary Protein & Vegan Hot Dogs
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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 bunch of vegan steak launches, the EU’s alt-protein commitment, and a new book on cultivated meat.
New products and launches
Apricot kernel cheese for the win! Austrian startup Kern Tec – which upcycles stone fruit pits into ingredients for dairy alternatives – has launched a Kesä vegan cheese line under its consumer-facing brand Wunderkern, available at 500 Blus Plus stores in pesto, tomato-olive and Mountain Fun. It will soon unveil alt-milk too.
In the US, veteran oil brand Wesson debuted a range of vegan spreadable butters with a base of canola, palm and palm kernel oils. They come in Original and Olive Oil varieties, and will be available starting at Hannaford, Stop & Shop, and retailers in the northeast.
Further north, Canadian plant-based dairy company Bettermoo(d) entered a distribution agreement with United Natural Food Canada to place its functional oat milks in over 5,000 retailers nationwide.
Across the Atlantic, UK oat kefir maker Biotiful Gut Health has launched a line of yoghurts made from gluten-free oats. They will debut at Tesco with 350g pots in Vanilla and Cherry flavours.
Meanwhile, New York-based Culiraw has introduced seven raw vegan cheesecakes, available online and in select stores in NYC, Connecticut and New Jersey, including Green’s Natural Foods, Morton Williams, and Met Fresh Supermarkets.
Elsewhere, German cocoa-free chocolate producer ChoViva has partnered with bakery manufacturer De Beukelaer to release a vegan Cereola cookie, which is stoked at Rewe supermarket. It comes a month after it partnered with Kölln on a cereal range that used its oat- and sunflower-based chocolate alternative.
In the UK, Fruit-tella announced it will be launching vegan versions of its popular chewy treats (which contain gelatin) in Strawberry Mix, Duo Stix and Berries & Cherry flavours.
Staying in the dessert category, Netherlands-based bakery manufacturer Dawn Foods has unveiled a vegan sponge cake mix for its foodservice clients, which promises to provide the “same functionality, texture and taste experience” as its conventional counterpart.
And in the Netherlands and Belgium, McDonald’s has collaborated with Dutch dairy company FrieslandCampina to reduce GHG emissions from the fast-food giant’s dairy supply chain by 14% by 2025.
In more Dutch news, plant protein company Schouten has launched vegan nuggets for children. The Vegetable Bites contain 46% vegetables and come in kid-friendly shapes, and will be available in retail and foodservice channels.
Swedish furniture giant Ikea, meanwhile, has expanded its plant-based offerings with vegan nuggets too. The frozen wheat-based Slagverk nuggets are available at all Ikea stores in Sweden.
This is part of a wider trend, it would seem, given that the vegan snack category – currently worth 49.5B – is set to grow by 7.9% annually to reach $78B. Meanwhile, another report (using much different metrics, I’m sure) shows that the plant-based steak market was valued at $562.5M last year, and is bound to grow by 6.2% per yet to reach $1.02B in 2032.
Speaking of steak, Chunk Foods is deepening its ties with Lewis Hamilton, it seems. Last month, it established a partnership with Hamilton-backed vegan fast-casual chain Neat Burger. And last weekend, it appeared on the menu at Formula 1 in Austin (as well as the Pro Smoke Show).
In Germany, Veganz will begin selling a shelf-stable pea protein beef analogue in December, which can be rehydrated in 10 minutes. The plant-based steak will be priced between €3 and €4 per kg, much cheaper than both conventional and other vegan counterparts.
Meanwhile, Israeli producer Redefine Meat‘s 3D-printed flank steak, beef mince and burgers are now available to foodservice operators in Switzerland, with its pulled meat range and kebab mix to arrive next spring. Its New Meat is also available at vegan butcher shop Butch Bunny in Geneva.
Another Middle Eastern brand, the UAE’s Switch Foods, partnered with Lebanese restaurant chain Al Safadi to offer its plant-based meats on the latter’s menu, which will take shape in the form of fried kibbeh, kabab khashkash, lahem beajine and hummus with meat and fries.
And now there’s a new book about cultivated meat. Bryant Research founder Chris Bryant, cell ag expert Che Cannon and Mosa Met founder Dr Mark Post co-edited Advances in Cultured Meat Technology, published by Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing.
In the US, comedian and SNL alum Tim Robinson collaborated with Plant Power Fast Food to introduce vegan Coney hotdogs, which – like Robinson – hail from Michigan. These will be available at the latter’s locations through November, until supplies last.
More of a K-dog fan? Wagamama‘s got you covered, with a new Korean-inspired menu unveiled in its UK branches. The restaurant – half of whose menu is vegan – has introduced plant-based K-dogs, king oyster skewers, a tofu hot pot, and a silken tofu gochujang rice bowl, among other items.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s CJ CheilJedang has expanded its ready-to-heat vegan Bibigo dumpling range with Japchae and Green Chilli flavours, starting with the UK, Singapore and Australia.
And in the US, Zenso Labs is making upcycled precision-fermented booze. It reuses spent grains from breweries and distilleries and turns them into ingredients for alcohol and food formulations. It will soon launch a Pear Ginger hard seltzer and a ready-to-drink Moscow Mule SKU.
Funding, M&A and novel tech
In Germany, a three-year research project for cultivated meat has been funded by German cultured fish startup Bluu Seafood and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The former has poured in €760,000, and the latter has invested €500,000, bringing the total financing to €1.3M.
Canadian cultivated meat producer Evolved, meanwhile, has published a paper detailing how it created in-vivo-like tissues in vitro, capitalising on scaffold-free cell sheets.
Also in Canada, the Saskatchewan Food Centre is building an Advanced Food Ingredients Centre for precision fermentation and bioengineering R&D, with a potential capacity of 20,000 litres. It’s set to begin operations this quarter.
Another fermentation facility that made the rounds recently was the one vegan cheese giant Daiya invested in, as it looks to develop a next-level version of chickpea-, oat- and coconut-based cheeses, slated for a North American launch by the end of this year.
In more cheese news, UK company Compleat Food Group (which was formed out of a merger between Addo Food Group and Winterbotham Darby in 2021) has acquired London-based artisanal vegan cheese maker Palace Culture.
Policy and petitions
Oatly‘s much-hyped Reddit AMA last Friday – where it invited a Big Dairy exec to co-host the session and answer questions about sustainability and carbon labelling alongside its sustainability director Caroline Reid – saw no one answer its call. But a Scottish dairy farmer did!
The European Parliament last week voted in favour of the Plant Protein Strategy, which calls on the EU – which has had a rocky week as some members have been found in cohorts with Big Ag to suppress green reforms – to boost the production and consumption of sustainable protein crops.
And its former member, the UK, saw a fourth borough endorse calls for a Plant-Based Treaty. London’s Lambeth council will join Haywards Heath, Norwich and Edinburgh in calculating and reducing food emissions and promoting plant-based food accessibility.
Awards, events and platforms
In Australia, SneakQIK, a shopping deals website, has relaunched as a vegan discounts platform, with expansions planned for India, the US, the UK and eventually globally.
Meanwhile, plant-based organisations have joined as strategic partners for a new event called Veg-net, whose first edition will be held on June 5 next year in London. The organisers hope to connect began brands with buyers and industry experts.
If you’ve had too much news and would rather just take a break, there are vegan-friendly rooms waiting for you at the NH Collection hotel in Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah archipelago. Animal-free bedding, plant-based snacks, compostable shower caps and sanitary bags, plastic-free packaging? Sign me up.
Elsewhere, Californian vegan seafood brand Impact Food has been nominated as one of 22 finalists for the 2023 Neptune Award by Ocean Exchange, which recognises sustainable solutions addressing ocean pollution and degradation.
Speaking of awards, TIME magazine has announced its annual Best Innovations list, which includes GOOD Meat‘s cultured chicken, which is one of only two companies to have received regulatory approval for sale in the US. There was also a special mention for Green Wolf‘s Vegami, which is a whole-foods plant-based salami sausage.
And PETA UK has also announced the winners for its 2023 Vegan Food Awards. Winners include M&S, THIS, VFC, Redefine Meat, Honestly Tasty, Sacred Grounds, Greggs, Asda and Flora.
And finally, another famous vegan organisation, Veganuary, has released the trailer for a documentary celebrating 10 years of the movement. It will premiere on November 17.
Want more roundups of alt-protein, plant-based and sustainable food? Stay tuned for next week’s Future Food Quick Bites, published every Wednesday, or get it in your mailbox by signing up for our Alt Protein Weekly newsletter.